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Keyona, a YV scholar, has plans to give back

May 30, 2012

At the age of 10, Keyona entered foster care, and was eventually placed with her grandmother.

After her grandmother passed away, Keyona began to bounce from family to family — six to be exact.

After graduating from high school in Guilford County, Keyona began searching for stable housing. She needed to get a job.

She wanted to go to college, but she didn’t know where to go or how to go about filling out a job or college application.

Her Guilford County Links coordinator referred Keyona to Youth Villages’ transitional living program.

The TL program provides young adults leaving foster care with the intensive support and guidance they need to make a successful transition to adulthood. The program helps young people learn to deal with the minor and major problems that come with adulthood. TL specialists help participants find housing and health services, learn how to access transportation and meet their basic needs. Specialists teach life skills like budgeting, menu planning and grocery shopping.

Keyona is a sophomore at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro and has even made the dean’s list. She is also a YV Scholar, which means she receives financial and personal supports, including a Youth Villages mentor, to help her excel and take full advantage of her educational experience.

Each year, Youth Villages selects as YV Scholars a group of young people participating in its transitional living program. As YV Scholars, these young adults from across the country receive extra support from Youth Villages to go to college and make a successful transition to adulthood. The YV Scholars program is made possible through private donations, including gifts from Youth Villages’ own employees, who give to the program through the annual Our Family Campaign. To maintain the scholarship, the youth have to maintain academic and community service requirements.

Keyona is majoring in social work and plans to graduate from North Carolina A&T and become a professional social worker, helping youth in foster care.

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