Racquell Perry, a former foster child and newly-minted lawyer, is on a mission. The 26-year-old earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee in just three years, a law degree from FAMU three years later and soared past the Florida bar exam last month.er new quest? To help other young people from foster care, and the adults involved in their lives, learn about campus-based programs to help former foster youth excel in college.
Her new quest is to help other young people from foster care, and the adults involved in their lives, learn about campus-based programs to help former foster youth excel in college.
“Growing up I was surrounded by poverty, and I was not happy about how things were going, but I knew education was my ticket out,” Perry said. “I went to Tallahassee on my own, but I had a mentor who helped me get through my undergraduate education, encouraged me and even gave me a job when I needed it.”
Perry will share her story of trial and triumph during a workshop on education and the law at the Third Annual Florida Reach Symposium, scheduled for 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., June 9 and 10, at Miami-Dade College’s North Campus and the Florida International University Modesto A. Maidique Campus in South Miami-Dade County.
The free conference is being sponsored by Educate Tomorrow, the mentoring program through which Perry obtained her mentors and for which she currently works as a graduate fellow.
At the Florida Reach Symposium, between 80 and 100 members of Florida Reach and guests will learn about effective programs that are supporting these emerging adults.
The symposium will start off with a presentation by members of Florida Youth Shine, a statewide youth-driven, peer-led organization that empowers current and former foster youth to become leaders and advocates. Other topics planned for June 9 include housing, K-12 education issues and college-based support programs such as the Educate Tomorrow at Miami-Dade College Single Stop Program.
On Friday, June 10, the itinerary will include sessions on university campus support programs, such as the FIU Fostering Panther Pride Program, as well as nutrition and health (including mental health), legal issues and community partnerships.
For more information about the Florida Reach Symposium, email [email protected].