At the DoubleTree Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, hundreds gathered for the fifth annual Excellence In AmeriCorps award ceremony to celebrate and recognize the achievements of their life-changing programs. Serita Cox, co-founder and CEO of iFoster, and Summer Rogers, iFoster’s TAY AmeriCorps Program Manager, accepted the award on behalf of the entire iFoster team, the TAY AmeriCorps Members and the partners supporting this program.
Since the program’s launch earlier this spring, it has served nearly 2,300 foster youth with complex cases. Serita took the stage to share a few words on how meaningful this program is and how it’s actively solving some of the major issues and challenges foster youth face every day.
She began with a few words that society uses to label not only the general foster youth population, but also the TAY AmeriCorps Members who serve them: homeless, commercially and sexually exploited, on probation, pregnant and parenting, victim of abuse, drop out and PTSD sufferer.
Serita went on to explain that the outcome of these kids lives is not due to their inability to succeed, but rather society’s collective inability to connect them to the resources they need to succeed. The current and former foster youth of TAY AmeriCorps are the solution because they have the background and life experience to understand what their peers need.
Serita’s powerful words were followed by an equally powerful video of four TAY AmeriCorps members sharing their thoughts and insights on iFoster and the program.
“I’ve learned that I don’t necessarily have a family, but iFoster and TAY AmeriCorps is like a big family to me and they are very supportive,” said 19-year-old Kristin.
After the video, Summer Rogers took the stage to explain the intensive training the TAY AmeriCorps youth went through to become Members, and how iFoster and our community partners serve as their support network throughout training and beyond.
Serita ended by thanking CNCS and California Volunteers for taking a risk and investing in the program, and praised her dedicated members one more time.
“Congratulations to our TAY AmeriCorps Members — you have earned this award. You embody our AmeriCorps pledge and I am honored to work with you and count you all as members of the iFoster family.”
Learn more about our award-winning TAY AmeriCorps program here.