Growing up as a foster child is never an easy path. Then comes turning 18—and the challenges that come with aging out of the system.
Thanks to the help of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Miami program and dedicated team members like Yolanda Rodriquez (MBA ’10, BS ’07), assistant director, operations, advancement, alumni and corporate relations, College of Business Administration, area foster children are getting the support they need to become successful adults.
Education is the key to the future.
At Florida International University (FIU), Rodriquez builds bridges between the business community and students. In her spare time, she and her Leadership Miami colleagues recently launched a program with Education Tomorrow, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating independence for disadvantaged youth through education, mentoring and training.
“Everyone on this team expressed a real love for children and education,” Rodriquez said. “I feel I’m helping young people reach their goals on parallel levels. At FIU, we help our students launch professional careers. With this Education Tomorrow project, I’m helping less fortunate youths get on the right college-bound track.”
The Leadership Miami group held several fund-raising events, including a successful golf tournament. As a result, the Education Tomorrow facility is now equipped with brand new computers, printers, desks and a conference area, plus software to aid in prepping for ACT, SAT and PERT tests. The group raised more than $100,000 for this project.
“We also hosted a daylong workshop for 60 young people about to leave the foster care system,” she said. “Agenda topics included business finance and health and wellness.”
Rodriquez would like to extend a special thank you to Michael Gomez, CEO Blood Heart Group. Teach Educate Activate Motivate (TEAM) captain and professional basketball player, for his commitment to this effort.
“Thanks to his generosity, one child received a full year of housing and furniture for her first year at a local college as well as his personal support during the upcoming orientation. It was the icing on the cake,” Rodriquez said.