Monday, June 06, 2011

Honoring Educational Achievements of Georgia’s Foster Care Youth

19th Annual Celebration of Excellence

More than 260 foster care youth will be honored and recognized for their educational achievements at the 19th Annual Celebration of Excellence. The Celebration of Excellence is a statewide graduation event and scholarship program for youth in Georgia’s foster care system who are graduating from high school, GED programs, vocational school or college. The event will be held on Wednesday, June 8, 2011, at 6 p.m. at Georgia State University’s Rialto Center for the Arts.

“Foster care youth encounter countless obstacles during and after foster care which make them less likely to attend and graduate from high school or college,” said Commissioner Clyde L. Reese, Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS). “This year’s graduates were able to overcome the odds and accomplish academic success. Their determination and will to succeed is to be commended and celebrated.”

Eric Anderson, a former foster care youth, will deliver the keynote address. He will share lessons learned during and after life in foster care. As a professional speaker and magician, Anderson has shared the stage with Talk Show Host Sean Hannity, Former First Lady Laura Bush, Home Run King Hank Aaron, and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient and former President of the United States Jimmy Carter.

The event is sponsored by DHS’ Division of Family and Children Services, Independent Living Program, Juvenile Law Committee of The Young Lawyers Division of The State Bar of Georgia, and numerous private businesses and organizations.

The Celebration of Excellence is the high point of a three-day Atlanta visit for teens transitioning out of the foster care system. These teens will also attend the Higher Education Institute, a two-day information and resource forum designed to teach the importance of professional etiquette, money management and understanding legal rights.

Celebration of Excellence is open to the public and is attended by foster parents, child welfare workers, business leaders, child and legal advocates, and legislators throughout the state.

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