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Foster care students overcome odds, celebrate graduation in Palm Beach County

Posted at 4:58 AM, Jun 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-07 07:28:25-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Forty Palm Beach Foster Care youth making their way through the system are also making strides towards success.

Angela Dawkins was one of the 40 youths honored Thursday in a graduation achievement celebration sponsored by ChildNet.

“What I went through affects what I want to be in life, so it basically pushed me and strengthened me to be who I am,” says Dawkins.

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The honorees celebrated different types of success: high school diplomas, GEDs, vocational certifications and college degrees.

“It means a lot to me because a lot of people doubted me. They said I’d be just like my mom or my dad. So, basically I just crossed a very big milestone, and I’m proud of myself because I could’ve been given up,” said Dawkins.

She wouldn’t have been alone. According to Casey Family Programs, it’s estimated across the country only 30 percent of children who grow up in foster care graduate from high school.

CEO and President of Larry Rein says the youth in Palm Beach County have some help from, “organizations like Vita Nova, Place of Hope, Best Foot Forward all work to support these kids, Children’s Home Society. So, we do a good job in Florida, not as good as we really need to but we do a good job.”

Students like Dawkins say they hope other foster care youth can take after her.

”I am an example and inspiration to my generation and many more because we can do anything we put our minds to. We just have to really want it, and we have to work hard for it. And it’s never gonna be easy. It’s gonna be hard. But if it’s not hard, is it really worth it or deserving?”

Dawkins says she plans on attending Tallahassee State Community College then Florida State while chasing her dreams to be a child advocacy lawyer.