Speak Up For Kids of Palm Beach County Launches Growing Grads

Carlos, a Growing Grads participant, graduated from Palm Beach Lakes High School.

Speak Up for Kids of Palm Beach County has launched Growing Grads, a new community campaign aimed to celebrate young adults who, despite involvement in the foster care system, are graduating! In conjunction with the launch, Speak Up For Kids received invaluable support from the Leadership Palm Beach County Engage Class of 2021.

This year, Speak Up for Kids is celebrating 32 graduates in Palm Beach County! As Class of 2021, these students cross the finish line as graduates of high school, GED, college, and vocational school. Despite involvement in the foster care system, each of these young adults has reached this significant milestone in their education and deserves to be celebrated.

The 2021 Graduation Celebration- Growing Grads kicks off with the Celebrating YOUth Scholarship in which awards of $500 are available to high school graduates within the foster care system. With community support, Speak Up for Kids plans to grow the new scholarship fund in order to increase award amounts annually. Learn more by visiting the website speakupforkidspbc.org/celebrating-youth.

In lieu of an in-person 2021 Graduation Celebration Event, Speak Up for Kids pivoted to bring the party to the grads despite COVID circumstances. Grads are celebrated with a personal delivery of a congratulatory yard sign and Gifts For Grads swag bag filled with community contributions including gift cards from Speak Up! Learn more by visiting speakupforkidspbc.org/growinggrads.

“For the teens we serve, normalcy and independent living skills are emphasized to ensure a bright future filled with lifelong connections and self-sufficiency,” said Fiona Wade at Speak Up For Kids. “We celebrate the successes of our young adults- especially the significant milestone of graduation at each level in their education.”

Today in Palm Beach County, there are approximately 1600 children in our local foster care system. While several organizations are doing great work for segments of the foster care population, Speak Up for Kids is unique. As the nonprofit dedicated to the PBC Guardian ad Litem Program, Speak Up serves ALL of these children- from newborn to young adult.

Each of these children has experienced abuse, abandonment, or neglect which has led to entanglement in a complex legal system. The Guardian ad Litem Program provides direct legal advocacy on behalf of the children involved in dependency court proceedings. Their advocates are court-appointed to represent the best interest of the children – in doing so we support the physical, emotional, and educational needs of each individual child.

“We are profoundly honored and humbled to celebrate our graduates this year! Our triumphant students have risen above their circumstances and worked hard to break the cycle of abuse and neglect through education and empowerment,” said Coleen LaCosta, Executive Director of Speak Up For Kids.

Learn more by visiting the website https://speakupforkidspbc.org or emailing [email protected]

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