News - 08/6/2013

Donation from Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund Helps Foster Children Succeed in College


Reginald Roy RANCHO SANTA FE,   California-(August 9, 2013)- Reginald Roy has faced challenges no one should have to face. He was taken from his mother at birth because her drug use had sent narcotics flowing into the newborn’s bloodstream. He grew up living in a number of foster homes and attending more than a dozen different schools throughout San Diego County. His father was never a significant part of his life.

But Roy is now among the scores of former foster children thriving at MiraCosta College thanks to a program funded in part by the Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund.

Known officially as Resources and Assistance for Former Foster Youth, the program provides everything from counseling to cash for the 60 or so former foster youth who enroll at the college every year. The Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund donated $25,000 to effort.

“This program has done a lot for me,” Roy said. “The college has done a lot for me. They understand the challenges and they provide the resources.”

Roy has gone through more in his 23 years than many go through in a lifetime. He moved from house to house in the gritty southeastern San Diego neighborhood before finally finding solace as a teenager at the San Pasqual Academy, a residential education campus near the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, formerly known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park. It was there that he met Adrean Askerneese, a counselor at the academy who would later work at MiraCosta College, and Jaymie Gonzaga, a MiraCosta College counselor who also serves as a foster youth liaison. Both emphasized the value of an education. Both empathized with the students at the school.

“They know about foster youth,” Roy said. “They know how hard it is. They understand that foster youths start out with nothing.”

Roy graduated from the San Pasqual Academy in 2008, and after an odyssey that took him to Cal State Northridge for a year and then the Army, he returned to North County, becoming a father and landing a job in Escondido. That’s when he decided to re-connect with Askerneese and Gonzaga at MiraCosta College’s Oceanside Campus. Both encouraged him to return to school, and they introduced him to the various resources that MiraCosta College provides.

Roy enrolled in the fall of 2012. He plans on earning an associate of arts degree and transferring to Cal State San Marcos. A single father living in Vista with his 1-year-old son, Roy hopes to become a massage therapist and someday run his own business.

Roy said he is grateful for the efforts to help former foster youth.

“It’s a crazy lifestyle that people shouldn’t have to have,” he said. “I don’t even know what a father and a mother are supposed to be like.”

He added: “Throughout my life I’ve felt that I didn’t have much support,” he said. “Whenever I did get support, I’ve flourished. I’m getting that support now, and I feel like I’m flourishing.”

For additional details about the Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Club donation, contact the MiraCosta College Foundation at 760.795.6777. For more information about MiraCosta College’s Resources and Assistance for Former Foster Youth Program (RAFFY), visit http://www.miracosta.edu/studentservices/eops/raffy.html or call 760.795.6680.

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