Los Angeles Foster Youth Celebrate Graduation at New, Frank Gehry Designed Children's Institute Campus in Watts on June 16, 2022

May 27, 2022 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
LOS ANGELES (May 27, 2022) On June 16, 2022, Children's Institute (CII)-one of the largest agencies of its kind offering multi-generational education programs and behavioral health and wellness supports in Southern California-will hold its annual Dream BIG Graduation Ceremony honoring the achievements of foster youth in its Individualized Transitional Skills Program (ITSP). CII's program supports transition-aged (16-21 years old) foster youth in preparing for a fulfilling adult life outside the foster system by providing mentorship and encouraging high school graduation and college readiness. CII also offers life skills classes with a focus on personal finance, job training, and securing stable housing which provide a basis for a successful transition to adulthood.

Nearly 100 foster youth, along with their CII counselors, will participate in the graduation being held on June 16, 2022 at the newly completed Frank Gehry designed CII Campus in Watts (10200 Success Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90002). The program will feature youth speaker, Jennifer C., who has been a part of CII's program since June of 2020 and is now a student at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

The key note speaker will be Ciera Foster, who played Amanda McKee/Livewire in Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe in 2018 and has since retired from acting to become a political activist. She is the founder of Black Allies Speak and co-founder of We are BLAC-Black Leadership Allied Coalition. Ms. Foster earned her Multidisciplinary Social Sciences degree in Psychology, Ethnic Studies, and Women & Gender Studies from California State University-San Bernardino.

"Los Angeles is home to the highest concentration of foster youth in our nation," says Ms. Foster, who previously worked with transition-aged foster youth, "That's why it is essential that we recognize their strengths and accomplishments at this pivotal time in their lives, and empower them to fulfill their potential and achieve great things. These incredible, resilient young people deserve to be celebrated."

The graduation program will be followed by dinner provided by local food truck favorites and entertainment from DJ Lani Love, also referred to as "the wholesome DJ" who is sought for her for thoughtful, uplifting musical experiences that transcend time, place, and genre. This will be the third year, Ms. Love has participated in CII's Dream BIG Graduation. Ms. Love was voted Chicago's Best DJ by Chicago Magazine readers three years in a row (2014, 2015, 2016). In 2018, Love was an official SXSW artist playing showcases for Tidal, Mercedes-Benz, Showtime and Maltesers.

"Our foster youth moving on to college and career don't necessarily have access to the traditional support a young person might get from parents during this time in their lives," says Martine Singer, President and CEO of Children's Institute, "This is our opportunity to step up as a community to support and celebrate them for all they have accomplished."

For more than 100 years, Children's Institute (CII) has supported children and families in healing from traumatic experiences. Every year, CII impacts the lives of 30,000 children and families across Los Angeles, where decades of underinvestment and racist policies have resulted in poverty and lack of opportunity - from Echo Park to Watts to Long Beach. Our two-generation model includes high-quality early education and youth programs, counseling services, parenting supports, workforce and community leadership development, and advocacy for community investment where it is needed most. But there is more work to be done so that all children have equitable access to opportunities, families have pathways to prosperity, and communities are healthy and safe.
Learn more at childrensinstitute.org. More about CII's Board of Trustees, can be found here.

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