Sade Receives Recognition Award

January 10, 2013 by · Comments Off on Sade Receives Recognition Award 

Sade Graduation_0001I 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!

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 YFS 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!

Team Crisafulli is Created!

December 31, 2011 by · Comments Off on Team Crisafulli is Created! 

THANK YOU all for supporting my charity of choice, Fostering Opportunities Dollars for Scholars. We raised $1500 and have created the Team Crisafulli Scholarship for 2012!

In addition to serving on the Board since 2003, I mentor students. Two of mine have graduated! I am currently mentoring Sade.  My description of her after our first meeting in 2007 was, “She’s a very angry, inner city kid.” Mentoring Sade has been like peeling an onion. Every layer I got through allowed me to connect with her on a deeper level. She has turned into the most beautiful young woman! I am so proud of her and all of her accomplishments. She graduated from Cuyamaca College in 2009 and went on to SDSU with the Alex Smith Foundation Scholarship. She will graduate in May 2012, with a degree in Social Work and is already talking about studying for her Masters. I will be mentoring our Team Crisafulli Scholarship student and as soon as I know who that is I will let you know.

Sade’s Graduation in 2009

Our chapter was formed, in March 2002, by a group consisting of social workers, teachers of at-risk students, and nurses. They decided something had to be done for their foster kids, who when they turned 18, were “aged” out of the system. Our first scholarships were a $100 each. Wow! We have come such a long way!

As of this year, we have awarded 186 scholarships to our students for a total of $300,921. 14 of them have graduated with a college degrees! Youth in foster care are 44% less likely to graduate from high school and after emancipation, 40 – 50 percent never complete high school. Only 5% of former foster youth will continue their education past high school and of those only 2% will graduate.

We are a locally operated non-profit scholarship foundation.  There is NO paid staff at FODFS. We are ALL VOLUNTEER Directors serving on the Board.  When asked, “Do board members get paid?” The response given with a hearty laugh is, “No, it costs to be a board member.”

Our Mission is to continue expanding post secondary educational opportunities for the foster youth of San Diego County, by providing them mentors and financial support.  They are in need of funding for housing, food, and transportation, as well as, their education.

We believe our youth are the greatest resource in our community and it only takes one person to make a difference in a young person’s life. Is that person you? I would LOVE to have you on my team!

Dreams Really Do Come True

May 5, 2009 by · Comments Off on Dreams Really Do Come True 

Sade & Susan at DFS Scholarship Award Luncheon

Sade & Susan at DFS Scholarship Award Luncheon

Every month Sade and I get together and go out to eat. The mission is to try new types of food. For our April dinner Sade said, “I’ve never eaten French food.” So I took her to Bleu Boheme in Kensington. Over dinner we talk about what’s going on in each other’s lives. This day she told me she had applied for the Alex Smith Foundation Scholarship. It’s $10,000 a year at San Diego State University. This is huge! She seemed a bit hesitant like she may not have a chance at it.

I told her, “You got it! Repeat after me, I Sade, am the recipient of the Alex Smith Foundation Scholarship. (All goals need to be specific to the person and in the present tense as if they have already happened.)

Well, two days ago I go an email from Sade that read, “The good news!!!!…. as always!!! you were right… I got the Alex Smith 10,000 dollar scholarship!!!!! YAY!!!”

This is a life changing event for Sade. She is on cloud nine to say the least! I sent her the link to my website to show her the article I had written about her and Dollars for Scholars Fostering Opportunities.

Her reply was this. “I just saw the website!!! WOW! Thank you so much Susan! Having you in my life has made things that I thought were “stressful” turn into something FUN. The positive attitude that you have is amazing and you’re an inspiration to me. You’re right, when I first met you I was quiet, but after you started sharing your life story with me I began to think, “This is someone I believe I can open up to.” Most people want you to open up to them and they don’t tell you anything about themselves, but with you it was the opposite and the day I realized that, I knew I could come to you and know that you wouldn’t judge me. Thank you for not judging me, looking at my faults or holding them against me, instead you used them to help me better myself, THANK YOU!!!!”

She is such a funny girl. Faults? What faults?

You Really Can Make a Difference!

April 30, 2009 by · Comments Off on You Really Can Make a Difference! 

Governor’s Wall at the State Capitol

Governor’s Wall at the State Capitol

I have to tell you that being a mentor to my former foster youth is so rewarding to me. To watch them open up and blossom is just so incredible. Sade, is an inner city kid who I started mentoring in August, 2008. She was very skeptical and not real talkative on our first meeting. I had to pry information out of her. It’s kind of like peeling an onion, each time another layer comes off. And every time I see her she is more beautiful, inside and out.
I am sharing the email I received from Sade so you can see how much impact we have on these young people’s lives and how proud I am of her.

“I wanted to share with you all what I did this past weekend. I’m on a board called CCY (California Coalition for Youth) and we do a bunch of advocacy work for foster youth, former foster youth, and homeless youth. Every year we have a conference and this year we just had ours. Our Executive Director Heather Dearing asked me if I wanted to share my story and I said yes, but I had no idea how many people I would touch. I walked into the Capital and the pictures that I’ve attached for you all was right next to Arnold Schwarzenegger and people where reading the stories and asking me to take pictures with them. The point of this email isn’t to “show off,” it’s to thank you all. Somehow, some way, you all have played a part in my life that allowed me to get to this point and I wanted to thank you all for “molding” me into the person I am today. Almost everyone I’m sending this email to has seen me through the worst of the worst, you’ve seen me when everyone else gave up on me, and this display at the Governor’s wall is proof of how you can help someone if you JUST DON’T GIVE UP…”

Boys & Girls Club

April 6, 2009 by · Comments Off on Boys & Girls Club 


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