As a child, Jessica lived with her mom in shelters and hotels. In high school, she was placed in foster care. “At 20, completely on my own, I needed an advocate, a mentor, a bossy guide to force me to take the harder road.”
It may seem like an impossible task – managing the demands of college while struggling with homeless. In 2013, 58,000 students applying for federal financial aid reported they were homeless. Most of these youth and young adults are motivated, good students who understand how important their education is, yet often don’t know resources are available to help them.
Did you know, for instance,
homeless and low-income youth can receive assistance in paying for AP exams, ACT/SAT entrance exam fees, and college applications;
many colleges offer year round housing to young people who have unstable living situations and need somewhere to stay during school breaks;
financial aid and scholarships are available for homeless and economically independent youth.
In a recent report, Measure of America detailed the causes and consequences of Louisville’s disconnected youth and young adults. Listen to young people describe their experience in this July 2015 video produced by the Courier-Journal.
55,000 Degrees, a local initiative to increase the rate of college graduates, is partnering with eight universities in Kentucky and Southern Indiana, public and private school systems and several Louisville city organizations to offer face-to-face and virtual mentoring to high school students heading to college.
The program include one-on-one communication between a college-enrolled mentor and a prospective student, and a program in which students receive regular text and email reminders about important college dates.
“There’s a gap in support for (high school) students,” said Lilly Massa-McKinley, leader of the summer melt initiatives. “Even if a university might be sending out emails, there are a lot of barriers to enroll in the fall.” Courier Journal, July 9, 2015
So far this summer, 240 are participating in the free mentoring program. For more information, contact Jennifer Brophy, Summer Navigator Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the 55,000 Degrees website.
21,750 of all 16 to 24 year olds in Louisville/Jefferson Co, nearly one in seven, are neither working nor going to school, according to a report released last month by Measure of America.
The causes consequences can be complex and long-standing for individuals and the community-at-large. “Disconnected youth are cut off from the people, institutions, and experiences that would otherwise help them develop the knowledge, skills, maturity, and sense of purpose required to live rewarding lives as adults.”
Focusing attention on the increased rates of disconnection for black and Latino youth, particularly for those living in highly-segregated neighborhoods, the report states communities must turn their attention to the root causes, not the symptoms, of disconnection.
“Knitting disconnected, opportunity-scarce communities into the fabric of our wider society and creating meaningful pathways within them is the answer to youth disconnection.”
Kristen Lewis, Co-Author of “Zeroing In On Race and Place: Youth Disconnection in American Cities”
For more information on the Louisville’s disconnected youth …
See an analysis of how the rate of disconnected youth and young adults in Louisville compares to its 14 peer cities
Of 19 year old respondents currently or formally in foster care:
One-third (34%) reported being employed either full-time (24%) or part-time (12%);
Forty-four percent reported receiving at least one form of financial assistance (other than public assistance) including Social Security (14%), educational aid (24%), or some other form of financial support (15%);
70% were attending school compared to 47% of youth who were no longer in care at age 19 (Note: completing secondary or post-secondary education is one of the reasons youth are able to remain in foster care after age 18).
The US Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau requires states to conduct annual surveys of foster youth receiving independent living services through the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program. This report is a summary of national level data on the outcomes of 19 year olds who responded to the survey from Oct 2012 to Sept 2013.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the total population in 2013 for Jefferson County, Kentucky was 756,832. Approximately 105,529 are between the ages of 14 and 24 years. This chart displays the estimated populations for two age groups and genders.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Selected Age Groups by Sex for the United States, States, Counties: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013. Release Date: June 2014
The number of students in JCPS comprehensive high schools receiving Free or Reduced Lunch increased every school year from 2005-2006 (43.7%) to 2012-2013 (54.0%).
Of the 26,575 high school students enrolled in JCPS comprehensive high schools 2012-12, 16,742 qualify for Free and Reduced Lunches.
The District total for these high schools was 43.7% (2005-06), 44.6% (2006-07), 46.4% (2007-08), 47.0% (2008-09), 50.9% (2009-10), 52.2% (2010-11), 52.9% (2011-12), 54% (2012-13).
Only one high school (Atherton) experienced a decrease (-9.9%) in the percentage of students qualifying.
The highest percent increase was at Seneca (28% increase from 05-06 to 12-13).
The comprehensive schools with the highest percentage of qualifying students in 2012-12 were Central (83.1%), Iroquois (87.0%), The Academy @ Shawnee (81.1%), Western (80.5%), and Valley Traditional (77.4%).
These data do not include all public high schools in this district or non-public schools.