Last updated: July 1, 2020, at 5:26 a.m. PT
Originally published: July 10, 2017, at 2:13 p.m. PT
Tanner came to the YMCA’s Center for Young Adults in late summer 2016, just before his senior year of high school. Tanner was seeking support with college applications, scholarships, and navigating the intersection of the foster care system and college-enrollment.
On average, students in Washington State’s foster care system move foster homes three times, and typically lose six months of academic progress with every move. Less than 50% of foster youth graduate from high school on time, and 1 in 5 experience homelessness upon aging out of the system.
Tanner proved to be one of the hardest working students the YMCA has ever seen. In the midst of college application season, Tanner juggled college applications to six different colleges, scholarship applications, and being co-captain of the swim team in addition to his usual coursework.
Resource Specialist Jeff Lindstrom remembers one day when he called Tanner to check in: “Tanner told me that things were good, but that he didn’t have much time to chat because he was busy working on a scholarship application. It was the first time in my six years as a college-access coach that I’ve heard a student say that on a Friday evening during the school year”.
When spring time rolled around, it was evident that Tanner’s hard work had paid off. He was accepted to every college he applied to, including Western Washington University, University of Montana, University of Washington, University of California at San Diego, Loyola Marymount University, and Chapman College.
Tanner reflects on his experience coming to the Y: “I had so much support during my senior year I didn't even know how to use it all. Jeff was great. He always replied quickly and helped me deal with whatever I needed help with. Whether it was my college application process or helping with financial aid, he was very helpful.”
Your support helps students like Tanner graduate from high school so they can pursue their college dreams. Tanner recently decided to attend Chapman College, his first choice, and was offered a full financial aid package. He is undecided about what to study, but is eager to have many new experiences and to learn about a variety of subjects that will help him find his passion.