One student shared how family instability nearly derailed her senior year, but her case manager helped her work through issues and kept her focused on graduation. With teary eyes, she voiced her gratitude, “Sadly, she (TFC case manager) has helped me more than any member of my family ever has.”
Another student shared plans to study baking and his dream to one day open his own bakery.
Many students talked about their desire to give back. Two shared plans to return to the inner city as teachers to impact future student who will face the challenges they overcame. “I want to repay those who have given me so much by providing the same support to future kids like me.” commented one of the students. A third student shared her plans to open her own photography studio and offer it as a space for young artists to gather and be creative.
Among the group there were scholarship winners, dual graduate receiving high school diplomas and Associate’s Degrees, future teachers, engineers and hair stylists.
It was apparent that the whole group of students raised the foundation of their futures, despite the odds. Despite facing obstacles like homelessness, abuse and neglect, parents facing addiction and incarceration, and the sheer difficulty of managing life on their own as teen, 24 of 25 participating seniors graduated on time. This far exceeds Kansas City Public schools graduation rate of 69 percent (MO Dept. of Education).
Students are referred to the Student Assistance Program by school counselors and social workers. Once enrolled, they receive a small stipend to help cover living expenses and are matched with a case manager who helps students locate resources to meet their needs, work through issues and focus on graduating.