Jeremiah's Promise, Inc.
Roman Interlocking Shields_Community

The above depicts a method of Roman battle formation called the Testudo, which used interlocking shields to protect warriors from assault on all sides. Want a better visual? Watch the scene from Gladiator where Maximus defeats a superior force when his men learn to fight "as one". What if... we used the same methodology to form a group of people around us to fill roles that would strengthen us, move us consistently toward our goals? People who could be "shields" of guidance, encouragement, exhortation, ethics, a sense of personal and social responsibility, innovation and creativity, etc. That would be a community that "has your back".  Of course, it's a two-way thing, thus the term "interlocking". You would part of their Testudo, too!

Who Has Your Back?

Greetings!

History is a great teacher. The Roman Empire offers tremendous insight into practices from which we continue to benefit. 
 
Just like Roman soldiers, we interlock shields with people we allow into our lives to build us up or, sadly, to tear us down. It's our choice. 
 
One of the best ways to feel like we are being supported is to invite into our lives those people who love us, challenge us and equip us for those every day battles of life. These people are the first who celebrate our victories, as well. 
 
These "interlocking shields" may be comprised of spouses, friends, family, colleagues, mentors, pastors, coaches, neighbors, etc. Just look around you at the possibilities.
 
Forming strong bonds is a lesson taught in one of our workshops to students who have never known how to form reliable, supportive networks. The best part is they get to choose the people to fill these roles! As do you.
 


A Donor-Inspired Scholarship 
Through the generosity of a very kind donor, we have awarded students at the College of San Mateo and West Valley College with financial support to offset the costs of tuition, fees, equipment and supplies. This new program is aimed at former foster youth, particularly those who may have aged out of the usual grants and scholarships for this population or who may have fallen between the cracks of bureaucracy and failed to receive financial aid for the term, which is all too common. 
 
School administrators partner with us to identify and screen students' eligibility.  
 Before receiving the award, candidates agree to attend our monthly workshops and partner with a mentor as two of the pre-set conditions for financial aid. Other criteria for the scholarship are providing proof of having been in the foster system; maintaining a 2.5 GPA or higher; enrolled in the college full or part time (if working full time); not in danger of academic probation; and an agreement to use the funds appropriately.
 

Another blessing we received in December was from Open Door Church - Mountain View.  The congregation raised nearly $2,000 in gift cards that we award to students who attend every third workshop.  This inspires consistent attendance for students, as well as, helps to meet their basic needs. Another couple threw a Christmas party and asked their guests to donate gift cards to JP.  They also raised a much-appreciated several hundred dollars to be used for our workshop attendees. 

 

 

The Warm Hand Off
students_pastels
The buzzword in San Mateo County is a "warm hand off".  Social workers look for ways to bridge foster youth from one program to another in a manner that is the least unsettling to inspire trust and confidence in the youth during periods of change.  Transitioning to adulthood from a life in foster care is often an alarming change for foster youth. Attending college, particularly if the first in their family, is yet another a dramatic challenge. Couple that with learning disabilities and a fear of rejection along with the assumption that no one really wants to help them, and the need for a warm hand off becomes even more critical to their success. 
To that end, JP and members of CSM's Student Services Department are collaborating with the county to offer our workshops this summer to foster youth who are graduating seniors and who are planning to attend college in the fall. The goal is to shore up the areas of their belief structures and patterns of behavior that would otherwise leave them vulnerable to failing out of school or dropping out when confronted with challenges they consider overwhelming.  Another benefit to the college-based workshops is for them to become familiar and confident with their new setting and a higher level of responsibility.
Ultimately, we hope they naturally begin forming a network of support among each other to further strengthen their sense of self worth, provide encouragement to each other and to increase their academic resilience. We aim to raise the percentage of foster youth who earn a college degree far higher than the 3 to 4% level it is at present.
 



As a member of CSM's Mental Healthcare Advisory Council, JP addressed the topic of Suicide Prevention at a conference sponsored by the college in January. The rate of suicide among foster youth is staggering - 3 to 5 times higher than others their age. In the talk, we discussed the role of hope and community.  To increase the sense of hope among this emotionally fragile population, we must develop a caring and involved community that reaches out to support these young people - and each other - through frequent communication; expressing an interest in the events in their lives; and being engaged in their well being.  
 
Talk! Ask Questions! Encourage! It could save a life.

Please join us in our work with former foster youth and others in the college setting who struggle with acceptance, unhealed trauma, demoralizing relationships, and academic and employment challenges. We can only reach them to the extent that we have the resources to do so.  We ask you to consider a tax-deductible gift in any amount to support our efforts to nurture, challenge, and equip former foster youth in our area who are attending college and doing the best they can.  It takes everything they have to heal and grow. Over the years we have seen them accomplish this and so much more with loving support. 

They are an important part of our community, and they often voice their desire to give back by reaching behind to pull along another who was like them. That's something we want to encourage!

 

With Kindest Regards,

 

Kim Golter
Founder/CEO
Jeremiah's Promise, Inc.
frustrated girl

Foster youth and young adults who have encountered violence or abandonment in early in life often feel overwhelmed, isolated and unloveable. This can lead to self-sabotaging behaviors, poor relationship skills or even thoughts of dying unless they have a supportive community to guide and protect them.  Sometimes they will quit rather than face another rejection or failure. They need people in their sphere of influence who can help them navigate real or perceived challenges.  
Say a warm hello and offer a word of encouragement to a youth you encounter today. Give it a try! You never know whose life you will touch for good. 
Donate
 
If you would like to give a tax-deductible gift in any amount, visit the home page of our website and click on the donate button to the right:  www.jeremiahspromise.org. Jeremiah's Promise, Inc. is a 501(C)(3) public benefit corporation. Our tax ID is 75-3079265. To contribute by mail, make the check out to Jeremiah's Promise and mail to:  P.O. Box 1393, Palo Alto, CA 94302-1393. Thank you in advance for your support!