Fostering Opportunities Scholarship Fund Annual Fall Luncheon 2014


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Fostering Opportunities Scholarship Fund’s recent annual Summer/Fall Luncheon was a great success. We have included here the photo highlights of the afternoon and are looking forward to seeing all of our student scholars at our next Winter/Spring event. We are … Continue reading

Winter Luncheon 2013

Fostering Opportunities-Dollars for Scholars recently hosted its Winter Luncheon for scholarship recipients at the Islands Palms Hotel and Marina. The student, volunteer, donor, and mentor attendance was outstanding.

We appreciate the hard work of all our students who succeeded in their studies during the past semester and support them as they prepare for the spring semester ahead!

We thank our donors and sponsors for their support now and throughout the year and look forward to seeing everyone at the upcoming
Summer Social !

New Date for Spring Fling Picnic

Dear FODFS Board members, mentors, and students,


The June FODFS picnic has been rescheduled for June 9th from 1-3 pm. This a great day in Shelter Island Park. FODFS Board members provide a free picnic in the park for FODFS students and their families.

It is also a graduation party for our new FODFS 2013 college graduates. Each graduate who attends this picnic will receive a gift of a $100′s.

We look forward to seeing you at our picnic and at our awards luncheon.

Also, please SAVE THE DATE:
August 3, 2013 is the Awards luncheon. 11 am to 2:30 pm.

Katie and Mary Jo

Rebecca’s Mentoring Experience

Each FODFS scholarship recipient is paired with a volunteer mentor. That mentor helps them navigate their way toward the goal of attaining a college education. Rebecca Leach has been both mentee and mentor. Please read along as she describes her thoughts and experiences with mentoring. Her writing is insightful and heart warming.

Rebecca Leach received her first FODFS scholarship in 2004 and graduated from California State University San Marcos with her BA in Communications in 2008.



Mentors in My Life

By Rebecca Leach

My perceptions of having a mentor have changed over the years.

I remember when a woman from the Department of Health and Human Services told me I was getting a mentor. She said a mentor is someone who helps you.

I thought to myself, I don’t need any help and I certainly don’t need a new person telling me what to do, and then leaving when the “task” was complete.

Eventually, I would meet my mentor, Karen, when I was a junior in high school. She said she was going to help me get into college. And, she did.

I wasn’t too sure about this person in my life and expected that as soon as she was done helping me write college essays or filling out the financial aid forms, or even helping me file my first tax return, I would never hear from her again.

Boy, was I wrong.

Karen sent, several care packages to my college dorms and emailed or wrote me letters to check in on how I was doing.

One day, I expressed an interest in learning how to make quilt. It was then, I learned, she was a quilter. Every Sunday, I would meet with Karen and she would teach me how to quilt, or sew or cook, or bake, or paint, or repair a broken chair.

But more than anything, Karen always opened her heart to me. I never felt judged or stupid around her.

She was the first woman I had ever met that didn’t yell when she communicated. She was happy and had good relationships with other people. She had a college degree and lived an empowering and independent life.

She was a different from many of the women I knew. She traveled around the world, owned her own home, visited museums and attended the theater. Over time Karen became more than my mentor, she became my friend and a role model.

Building that mentor and mentee relationship took time. A lot of time. At first, I was reluctant to the idea of having a mentor.
Then, something happened. First, I started noticing that other people I knew had mentors. Other non-foster youth friends of mine, who grew up in stable loving homes, often found mentorship in college professors or their work supervisors.

Second, I realized Karen wasn’t my only mentor. I had mentors all around me, in my daily life.

And then, I too became a mentor.

Some observations and relationships I have had, got me thinking about what mentoring really is all about.

Sometimes, I think former foster youth get caught in the idea that we are fundamentally different from everyone else. Seeing other non-foster youth interact and form relationships with people they consider mentors reminded me how just how similar we all are.

Everyone needs guidance, knowledge, connection, and support. Sometimes it seems impossible to get all of those things in one place. Along the way in life, I have learned that mentoring comes in many forms. Perhaps a college professor or supervisor at work will have the knowledge, connections and support to help you grow.

I also realized that the most successful people I knew were emotionally successful people. Those who are happy and content with their lives and are that way because they have at least one caring person in their life whom they consider to be a mentor.

Karen may have been and I still consider her my “formal” mentor, but I have had several persons in my life that I look up to for advice and guidance. Sometimes it was at college with a professor or another student in my class who helped me understand the material or gave me tips for better study habits.

At times it was a supervisor or colleague who helped me develop professionally.

It was the scholarship and mentorship of FOSDF. They believe in the support, education and advancement of foster youth.

Recently, it is my friend, Lila, who has shown me the love, guidance and friendship of a mother figure. Lila nurses me when I am injured, sick or heartbroken. She cooks for me and is always encouraging me to eat healthy. She includes me in holiday traditions, just as if I had always been a part of her family.

Many of the people you meet might not consider themselves mentors; yet, you might grow and learn something from each one of them.

When I was asked to mentor a young foster youth, I thought me … be a mentor? How is that possible? I am not perfect. I have a mentor, myself. So, how can I be a mentor?

But as my relationship with my mentee has grown over the last four years, I have redefined what a mentor is. A mentor is someone whom you learn and grow from in small and big ways.

No one is perfect. And the one thing we have in common as mentors is our desire to help empower younger people. Some qualities of a mentor include honesty, consistency, integrity, and open-mindedness. Sometimes they believed in me when I didn’t have the ability or strength to believe in myself. It is this unconditional belief and support that has allowed me to be successful in my personal and professional growth.

Along the way I have been introduced to theater, museums, and National Public Radio. I have developed life skills and had travel opportunities. Other mentors have introduced me to live jazz or other cultural experiences and events. It has fostered my love for the outdoors, traveling and ethic foods.

If I can give my mentee some of the things I have learned, and encourage them to achieve their goals, I would consider myself a successful mentor. I would not be the person I am today, nor will I be the person I will become tomorrow without the love, guidance and support of the many mentors I have been blessed to have in my life. And most of all they have become a part of my chosen family – the family with whom I am able to create new traditions.

If I could talk to myself as 16 year-old, I would tell myself that I am happy to have had mentors in my life. A mentor helps you, supports you, offers an open heart and helps you become a better person.


Rebecca Leach received her first FODFS scholarship in 2004 and graduated from California State University San Marcos with her BA in Communications in 2008.

She worked full-time while attending college full-time. Without the support both financially and emotionally from FODFS, Rebecca would not have been able to graduate.

Though generous donations from its benefactors, FODFS was able provide enough financial support that during her senior year she was able quit her job and concentrate on graduating.

FODFS encouraged Rebecca to accomplish both her educational goal of graduating and her personal goal of studying abroad. During that time she developed leadership and public speaking skills.

Rebecca considers the board, supporters, volunteers and other recipients, the family she never had. At her graduation, volunteers and donors celebrated along side her, giving her the same love and encouragement experienced by any one of the other students who graduated that day.

Currently, Rebecca lives in Los Angeles and is the Southern Region Policy Coordinator for a child welfare advocacy organization California Youth Connection. Her new goals are to attend graduate school, receive her Master’s in Public Health and help young women become empowered members of their community.

Celebrating Sade’s Successes!

I, Susan Clarke Crisafulli, have been a friend and mentor to Sade Burell for several years, and I wanted to let you all know how well Sade is doing since graduating. She had two job offers within the first 2 weeks. One was full time and the other was part time. The part time job was the one she wanted and I told her, “If you work hard and prove yourself you will have a full time position in 6 months.” Well, she had it in two weeks!


Sade’s graduation portrait

Then she called me to tell me she was recognized at the Holiday Luncheon. The only problem was she was not there. She said, “My colleague called me to tell me to hurry up and get there. But I couldn’t make it because I was too busy taking care of my client. I missed my standing ovation and award because I was doing my job.”

The following is the statement that her Program Director sent to the other office members.

Holiday Party Recognition Statement – December 13, 2012

“I would like to recognize one of our new Kinship Case Managers, Sade Burell, for her great work ethic and positive attitude.

Before coming to work for Youth Family Services in June of this year, Sade had personal experience with foster and kinship care and was also a participant in the YFS Turning Point Program. At the age of 18, Sade came to Turning Point with few independent living skills and no money in the bank, but worked with a staff member there for 18 months and learned how to budget her money and take care of herself. She says that she still implements many of the rules and lessons from Turning Point in her own home now. After graduating from the program, Sade went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is now applying for MSW programs.

In her current role at YFS, Sade serves grandparents and other relatives raising children, helping to prevent other youth from entering on re-entering formal foster care. I’m recognizing her today because in the last 6 months Sade has learned her hob duties quickly, joined a task force for professionals who were formerly involved with Child Welfare System as youth, always volunteers to help out with support groups, holiday events, and anything else I need help with, and always comes to work with a great attitude. Working with her daily inspires me to stay positive and always look for the good in difficult situations and I want to thank her for that and for all her hard work with the Kinship Program!”

I am so proud of Sade and all that she has accomplished. She will always be a part of my life!

San Diego Foundation Scholarship Application

San Diego Foundation banner

Dear San Diego Foundation supporter,

I am pleased to share that The San Diego Foundation’s 2013-2014 Common Scholarship Application is now available.

We would greatly appreciate your help in getting the word out about our scholarship opportunities. Please take a moment to forward this email to your contacts, keeping in mind that our scholarships are not just for graduating high school seniors; we also award to current college students, trade/vocational students, graduate students and adult re-entry students.

The Foundation is the largest scholarship provider in San Diego County (outside of the university system). Last year, we awarded more than $2.5 million to more than 650 students. Our Common Scholarship Application uses one online form to access more than 100 scholarships. The online application has now launched; the last day to start an application is February 4, 2013 and the last day to submit an application is February 6, 2013.

To encourage applicants to apply early, we’ll be choosing a random winner of a $100 gift card to Barnes & Noble every Monday from December 17 to January 28. The earlier applicants submit their applications, the more chances they’ll have to win!

Applicants don’t have to have straight As, be star athletes or be in leadership positions. We have opportunities for students with:

  • A commitment to their education
  • Potential for success
  • A minimum GPA of 2.5 for many scholarships
  • Participation in extra-curricular activities, community service and/or work experience
  • Some financial need

* Note that almost all of our scholarships do require San Diego County residency.

Apply at:

The deadline to start an application is February 4, 2013 and the deadline to submit an application is February 6, 2013.

For questions, please email or call (619) 814-1343.

We greatly appreciate your help and dedication to San Diego students who seek an education and the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

Lindsay Caddel
Director of Community Scholarships and Teachers’ Fund Programs