(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.
UTSA prides itself on giving students a well-rounded education. Combining a top-tier academic program with opportunities for personal growth prepares students to compete in a global economy. And that's not all. They learn to be informed and engaged citizens as well. At the heart of that academic program is an award-winning core curriculum.
For four consecutive years, UTSA has received an A-rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for the caliber of its core curriculum. According to ACTA, UTSA requires its students to take six of the seven courses deemed "crucial" to a well-rounded education: composition, literature, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and science. Only a handful of other institutions in the U.S. are giving students these tools, which are needed to succeed in careers and the community.
Did you know? UTSA is one of only three Texas institutions and 23 in the United States to receive the highest rating for its core curriculum in the 2014-2015 edition of the ACTA's "What Will They Learn?" report.
Cheer on the UTSA Roadrunners at their home-opener against the Kansas State Wildcats.
Alamodome, 100 Montana St.
As part of National Recovery Month, a panel of substance abuse practitioners and members of the recovery community will discuss issues related to substance abuse treatment and recovery.
Durango Building 1.124 (DB 1.124), Downtown Campus
Love of theater, history leads Lee grad to pursue anthropology degree
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.