My name is Jeanette Giray. I am a licensed teacher and tutor for The Foster Care Council of LexKy. For over two years, I have had the privilege of working with children in the foster care system. Their ages range from 5 to 16 years of age. These children suffer from significant disruptions in emotional, physical and intellectual development. They are faced with grave disadvantages compared to other children. The United Way grant cut short these disadvantages and provided them a bridge in which to build or rebuild their confidence, self-esteem, and academic potential.
Every student assigned to me has been assessed in reading and math. Each tested below grade level in math and most were below grade level in reading. All of the children struggled with poor self-esteem and confidence due to weaknesses in reading and math. Each carried a strong dislike for these areas simply because they missed many of the important building blocks while in survival mode.
These children have all diligently worked to improve in all areas needing improvement. Their attitudes about math and reading have significantly improved. As a result, not only has confidence and self-esteem soared but they have also improved on their annual MAP and KPREP test scores. It is very rare for a student to make a 15 to 20 point gain on these tests, and yet, several students, were in that range of increase and higher!
Chaise, now in high school and adopted by his foster family was a student in the Foster Care Councils’ Education Advancement program. When he began the tutoring program in the 8th grade he tested on a 5th grade level. Chaise was quiet, timid and embarrassed about his weakness in math. He received tutoring services 3 hours a week for 9 months. At the end of the 2014-2015 school year, the students took their MAP and KPREP tests. Chaise increased 26 points on one of his tests! His teacher called his care taker to inform her of this outstanding progress! Today, Chaise is a more confident, outgoing, assertive young man who no longer groans at the thought of working on math. He is a quick learner and eager to improve his academic potential.
This is just one of the many success stories I have witnessed as a result of the United Way funding. Thank you for giving these children a chance to thrive, grow and succeed!
The Foster Care Council of Lexington, Kentucky has provided many children with opportunities for tutoring, mentoring, extra-curricular activities and more! The tutoring services for one particular young lady, Lauren Burgess, have helped her reach academic success in measures she didn’t think possible.
Lauren first came to the foster home of Judy Burgess at the tender age of 13. Ms. Burgess described Lauren as quiet, reserved, painfully shy and yet very kind and polite. She informed me that all of Lauren’s prior education had been in a private church school. There, her academic progress was reflected with top marks. Amidst all of the trauma in Lauren’s life, she prided herself on the fact that she was great in school. However, when Lauren was placed in a public school and evaluated, Judy learned that Lauren was actually two years behind in all of her core classes. This shattered Lauren’s confidence. Judy sought interventions to help Lauren improve academically and rebuild her confidence and self-esteem.
As a tutor for The Foster Care Council, I first met Lauren in 2014, during her 9th grade year in high school. I found this precious soul to be all that Judy had described! Lauren was very soft spoken and could barely make eye contact. Upon assessing Lauren, I found her in need of remediation in reading, math and writing. She had been struggling to perform with low passing grades. Lauren wanted to better her life with a college education and a respectable career. She felt this was out of reach for her due to her academic deficiencies. I shared with Lauren that I had a similar upbringing. I understood and identified with the struggle on so many levels. I encouraged her NOT to allow her trauma or struggle to define her.
For two years, every week during school and summer, Lauren and I met to rebuild skills and concepts she couldn’t process during the difficult times in her early life. We also practiced study skills, test-taking strategies, writing skills, vocabulary and kept up with current content in all core subjects. Lauren showed great determination and perseverance! I found her to be a very self-disciplined student. As time passed, Lauren began to see her hard work pay off as her grades began to rise. Her grade point average climbed from a 2.87 her freshman year, to a 3.33 GPA her sophomore year and a weighted GPA of 4.4 her junior year! Lauren’s confidence, self-esteem, writing ability and courage had improved so much that she even wrote and submitted a letter, expressing her interest and desire to learn abroad with a group of selected students traveling to Japan with The Sister Cities of Lexington. She was one of a small group of students, hand selected by teachers, awarded this exceptional opportunity! Since my time with Lauren, she has grown and blossomed into a wonderful young lady. She made huge gains during tutoring and continues to shine and accomplish each goal, one by one! Lauren will be a senior this upcoming 2016-2017 school year. I look forward to seeing all that she will become! Way to go kiddo!
Prince, now 15 years old, was born in Ghana, West Africa. He came to the United States in 2008 and was shortly placed in the foster care system. Life’s transitions have not been easy for him, but he has been fortunate to have support systems placed around him to help him succeed. He enjoys spending time with friends and family, watching movies and cooking but most of all he loves sports, watching or playing them. Prince played middle school basketball and ran track. Now a sophomore in high school, he is running in/outdoor track on the high school team. Foster Care Council has been instrumental in his success through all the support they have given him and his foster mother to assist with the athletic expenses. Being able to participate in sports has helped Prince persevere in so many ways. It has given him opportunities to be a solid part of a team and forming healthy relationships with peers and coaches, it has given him structure, motivated him to achieve and maintain above a 3.4 GPA in school and to cope with the challenges in life. Athletics are so crucial to him, that he dreams to be a coach someday. Without the assistance of FCC, it would have been difficult for Prince to participate in activities and achieve all that he has. Support from FCC helps so many kids and families have opportunities that they would not otherwise have.