(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.
Throughout the summer, UTSA offers more than 60 camps in science, engineering, architecture, sports, music, writing, language, culture and more.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
Experience a fun, interactive week at UTSA as new students and their families take the first steps to becoming a Roadrunner.
Various locations, Main Campus and Downtown Campuses
Chat with members of the Downtown Campus Initiative Task Force about changes taking place as the Downtown Campus grows and transforms to offer a comprehensive living and learning experience. Table topics will include curriculum changes, orientation updates, transportation, food and living options.
Frio Street Building Commons Area, Downtown Campus
UTSA and the San Antonio Express-News will jointly host this town hall meeting to discuss Unequal Justice in Bexar County and in Texas.
Buena Vista Street Building Theater (BVB 1.326), Downtown Campus
Finance and Budget Modeling Task Force presents a panel presentation of experts from 4 universities with experience in incentive-based budgeting. All UTSA campus community is invited to attend and be informed about budgeting processes.
Business Building Richard Liu Auditorium (BB 2.01.02), Main Campus
This event showcases the work of trainees, faculty, staff and students from multiple disciplines and public health agencies across San Antonio.
H-E-B Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.104), Main Campus
This exhibit highlights the UTSA Special Collections, which includes historic photographs from Texas, San Antonio and UTSA history.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
Come learn about the benefits available before the enrollment period July 15-31.
Business Building University Room (BB 2.06.04), Main Campus
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