(July 3, 2014) -- More than 100 foster youth visited the UTSA Downtown Campus to learn about higher education opportunities and future career paths at the 15th Annual Independence Day Youth Conference.
Independence Day is traditionally synonymous with fireworks, family and parties; however, it takes on a completely different meaning when it comes to children in foster care. This year's conference supported youth aging out of foster care with their transition into independence and adulthood.
UTSA sociology professor Harriett Romo welcomed the visitors and told students about various UTSA degree programs and transfer partnerships in place with the Alamo Colleges.
This year’s theme, "Become A Super Hero," encouraged foster youth to think about one thing in which they excel and to consider if they could incorporate that asset into a future career.
The foster youth attended workshops about a variety of fields including industrial careers, allied health careers, public service careers and arts and sciences careers. Participants heard from pipefitters, plumbers, dental hygienists, police officers, firefighters and video game designers.
In the afternoon, the adult foster youth in attendance were encouraged to voice their opinions about what needs to be changed in the foster care system at a “Life After Foster Care” panel event.
Panelist Arely Montoya, a 19-year-old from El Paso, entered the foster care system when she was 17 with her brothers who were nine and 10. Montoya stayed in foster care for a year and then moved to San Antonio to pursue a college education. She attended Northwest Vista College for a year and plans to transfer to UTSA in the fall to study communication.
“I would tell the foster youth not to be scared because there are resources out there with benefits,” said Montoya. “Be patient and look towards your goal. There are many organizations out there to help you.”
The conference was hosted by the Bank of America Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) at UTSA and BCFS Health and Human Services.
In 2011, CAPRI received a three-year $600,000 HUD grant, which was used to create programs to encourage and assist foster youth through the college planning process. The grant also allowed for the creation of the Assistance in College Completion, Employment and Socioeconomic Success (ACCESS) Center and commuter lab. The ACCESS Center, located in Monterey Building Room 2.260 at the UTSA Downtown Campus, serves as a central hub where youth can get assistance with college readiness, time management and helpful resources for everyday problems.
BCFS Health and Human Services is a global system of health and human service nonprofit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa. BCFS also provides residential and emergency services, assisted living services, medical services, transitional living services, residential camping and international humanitarian aid throughout the globe.
The UTSA community welcomes students to their on-campus home! Laurel Village, Chaparral Village and Alvarez Hall are home for 2,300 students during the academic year, and Move-In event kicks off the start of Roadrunner Days.
Laurel Village, Chaparral Village, Alvarez Hall, Main Campus
The College of Engineering hosts this seminar featuring Jeff Adams, Southwest Zone Quality Manager, Siemens Building Technologies Division. The event is free and open to the public.
Engineering Building (EB 3.04.30), Main Campus
This is a terrific opportunity for incoming transfer students to network with staff that serve our veteran, non-traditional, and transferring students, as well as meet transfer peer mentors who can help answer questions about UTSA.
Main Building ground floor lobby, Main Campus
After a day full of moving and getting settled into their new UTSA home, students and their families can have some refreshments and snacks at the Welcome Back Reception. The event tops off with the premiere performance of the Spirit of San Antonio, UTSA's Marching Band.
University Center Paseo, Main Campus
Can you survive the library wilderness? As a part of Roadrunner Days, UTSA Libraries is hosting a mobile adventure for you to play and find out more about the library!
John Peace Library, 2nd floor, Main Campus
Come meet your UTSA Volleyball Team as they gear up for the 2017 season! The game begins at 5 p.m. then the team will hold an autograph and photo session after the game.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
This engaging discussion pulls back the covers on hooking up, clarifying when it’s actually sexual violence and how bystanders can protect potential victims from predators.
University Center, Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), Main Campus
Late Night at the Rec is an awesome UTSA tradition that transforms a standard information session into an exciting night of fun. At this annual event, you’ll be able to learn about our facilities, recreation programs, and wellness services offered at Main and Downtown Campuses.
Recreation and Wellness Center, Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.