Mo’s foster care story began in 2017 when he entered foster care at age 16. Like a lot of other kids in high school, he knew he wanted to attend college. Going into foster care threw him a curve ball he didn’t see coming.
Mo thought that people didn’t expect kids in foster care to succeed. From his point of view, everyone was waiting for him to fail.
“What are you doing?” “Don’t you know you’re going to fail?”
These were the thoughts that ran through his mind. In reality, Mo was a good student and he focused on proving those thoughts wrong. He just didn’t know how to access the services that could help him get to college.
Then he found Keys to Success (KTS), the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation’s program designed for young people aging out of foster care. When Mo came to KTS, he was quiet and kept to himself. What he lacked in self-confidence, he made up in motivation.
Right away, Mo put in the hard work and dedication to succeed and make the program work for him. Before beginning his senior year of high school, he enrolled in the Bridging College Success class at Mesa Community College, a collaboration between KTS and MCC specifically to help youth in KTS become college ready.
Working with his KTS team, Mo was able to access transportation and services he would not have known about otherwise. Although he found a job that he enjoyed, he realized that for his success, school had to be his number one priority. His KTS specialist connected him to community resources for attending college, including AFFCF’s post-secondary scholarship program. In the Spring of 2018, Mo graduated high school.
Fast forward to December 2019.
Mo just completed his freshman year at Arizona State University, where he is an AFFCF scholar. He’s in the Barrett Honors College, majoring in applied physics and minoring in philosophy. Bearing in mind all the negative statistics about kids aging out of foster care, he chose one of the hardest majors to prove himself. As the semesters rolled on, he realized that he needed to succeed for himself.
And succeed he has!
Mo’s made the Dean’s list every semester so far and he’s just getting started! He plans to study abroad in Germany, Switzerland and possibly the United Kingdom in the Summer 2020 semester. As if that weren’t enough, he works an on-campus job compiling financial reports for one of the schools within ASU. He also landed a teaching assistant job for one of the honors classes available at the university and is treasurer of the Game Developer’s Club at ASU’s Polytechnic campus. And in what spare time he has, he likes to play guitar.
For a young man who had to push through an incredible amount of negativity, Mo now is racing toward success, grabbing a lot of smaller victories along the way. His strong motivation and desire to not give up, coupled with the connections he found through Keys to Success, give Mo the tools he needs for success.
To young people in foster care and on the verge of aging out, Mo says the thing that helped him most was reaching out to as many resources as he could. He also says that being proactive helped him a lot. He applied for scholarships and jobs, even if he wasn’t sure he’d get them or even wanted them. Waiting for help wasn’t an option. By taking advantage of the opportunities before him, this young man is racing toward big success for his future and gaining lots of smaller victories along the way.
Mo, it’s our pleasure to work with you and see all your success!