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Make the Most of Yourself - Monica's Story


Growing up, Monica and her brother were severely abused physically, emotionally, and psychologically by their mother's partner. Monica found solace in books – she became a voracious reader, finding escape and peace between the pages. But fiction couldn’t protect her from the realities of her life. When she was 11 years old, after a traumatic beating that left her brother black and blue over half his body, Monica knew she had to seek help. She and her brother ran away, Child...

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Full Circle - Molly's Story


When Molly was growing up, her mom had serious mental health issues and struggled to take care of herself, much less her children. At 15, Molly was removed from her mom’s care and the court tracked down her father with the hopes that she could stay with him. He was a biker, affiliated with the Hell’s Angels, and was in rehab battling substance abuse issues. When they met at a restaurant, Molly hadn’t seen her dad in five years. He asked if she had any money. She paid for...

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The World is Yours - Denisse's Story


Denisse loved school all her life. It was a sanctuary, a place to escape from the violence and anger she often faced in her home situations. She loved school and was always eager to learn.

“School was my home where I had friends, and there weren’t any bad things. But one day, I got home just five mins late and he beat me with a belt and cables. It hurt to walk. So, I reported him through my school who then reported him to the police.”

Her dad was arrested but was soon out...

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Comfort in Art - Sara's Story

Sara Art

Sara has always found comfort in art. When she was younger, when she didn’t know how to express herself, drawing and painting helped her find her voice. Creating helped her find structure and organize her thoughts when she felt her life was overwhelming. By putting her feelings and experiences into something tangible, Sara found a way to express herself and face her trauma. She would show her art to her Pivotal coach, and to her social workers, to help them understand her and her...

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Visit the Foster Youth Musuem

FYM Collage

This year, Pivotal partnered with California Youth Connection to bring the Foster Youth Museum to Santa Clara University’s Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation. Created in 2006 by current and former foster youth, the Foster Youth Museum uses artifacts, art, photography, and digital media donated or created by foster youth to provide an intimate look into their experiences.

This is the first time the exhibit has been publicly displayed since the COVID-19 pandemic. Pivotal has...

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Pivotal Connect 2023

Ngonzo Thank you Banner for Pivotal Connect

Thanks to everyone who joined us at Pivotal Connect! We were inspired and touched by the stories of resilience we heard and the beautiful artwork on display in the Lost Childhoods Exhibit from the Foster Youth Museum and Pivotal’s companion Cover to Cover exhibit.

We’re so grateful for all our supporters and we hope you had the chance to meet some of our scholars and hear how much your support really means to them. If you didn’t get a chance to attend or make a donation at...

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FY22 - Annual Report Banner 2

The Pivotal 2022 Annual Report is Here!

Join us in celebrating the accomplishments of the scholars we served in the 2021-22 Academic Year and read more about how Pivotal aims to reach even more young people from foster care as we continue our mission to provide foster youth with the education, career, and life they want for themselves.

FY22 - Program Impacts Page Stats for Blog

Our cover story is about Anaztajia, who talks about how the Pivotal team went above and beyond to guide her to an on-time high school graduation and acceptance into UC Santa Barbara.


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Candy Banner Image

Meet Candy

Growing up, Candy had big hopes and dreams for her future. First, she wanted to be an engineer, then a zoologist, then a pediatrician. When her uncle became a nurse, she saw how dedicated he was to helping others, and the life he built for himself, it sparked her interest. She talked it through with friends, thought about it more, and realized she wanted to follow in his footsteps and become a neonatal nurse. 

Having role models and adults who can provide guidance and lead by example is...

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SaLe Banner Image

Meet Savasia

Savasia was placed in foster care early in her high school years. At a time when she wanted to focus on her education, graduating, and just being a typical high schooler, she suddenly found herself emotionally overwhelmed by everything happening to her. Over the course of her time in care, she had to manage huge changes in her life and her support structure. Her social workers changed frequently, as did her therapists, and every time she sought help from a new person, she had to tell her...

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National Hispanic Heritage Month 2022

Between September 15 and October 15, we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month and the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. 

Nearly half of our Pivotal scholars are Hispanic or Latinx and we want to take this opportunity to celebrate and learn more about what motivates them and their connection to Pivotal. We asked some of our coaches, scholars, and alumni to share a few words...

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Meet Davina Banner

Meet Davina

By Davina Lopez
Pivotal Scholar

I have been part of the Pivotal community since 2017, when it was Teen Force. Like most people, I’ve faced my share of hardships as well as victories.  There were times when I felt no hope for my future, convinced I wouldn’t be able to escape the statistics of being a foster youth.

For so long, I’d heard that a foster youth’s chances of graduating high school, let alone college, and finding a successful career were slim to none. But...

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Summer Challenge 2022 Banner

Summer Challenge 2022

Every summer, we throw down the gauntlet for our high school students as they take on the Pivotal Summer Challenge. Designed to give our young people an outlet for self-expression and learning over the summer, the Summer Challenge provides students with prompts for activities they can do to stay active, learn more about the world and get to know themselves and the people around them a little better. 

Students select activities from a list of 16 in four different categories: Connect,...

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