Chance to Advance reduces risk factors for youth in foster care by promoting life skills and enrichment through one-on-one mentoring and group activities.
Clients Served Last Year:
Demishia Owens, M.S., CASAC-T
60 Plant Avenue
Hauppauge, NY 11788
Children in foster care are at a much higher risk of incarceration, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, lack of self-esteem, and ending up on public assistance. About 70% of youth in foster care do not complete high school.
Intervene and bring meaningful change to the lives of at-risk children and youth in foster care by providing positive outlooks and enrichment opportunities through one-on-one mentoring and life skills workshops and activities.
How We Do it:
Committed volunteer mentors are matched with youth ages 8-21 and serve as positive role models who introduce them to constructive opportunities. Positive youth development and self-esteem blossom through educational and recreational activities, as well as college and vocational coaching and independent living skills workshops. Scholarships are awarded to exceptional students to help them achieve their higher education goals.
Chance to Advance also offers a New York State licensed summer camp, which opens youth to unique experiences they may not have had access to otherwise. Participants learn valuable skills like how to: cook, get along with others, take risks and overcome fears, work together in a team, and trust people.
How You Can Help:
Chance to Advance seeks volunteers to become mentors for teenagers in foster care. The program also also needs school supplies and clothing for teenagers. To volunteer your time, please contact Demishia Owens at (631) 648-2700. To support Chance to Advance with a gift, donate here or call (516) 539-0150 x117.
The Outcomes of Chance to Advance
Over 90% of our mentors report that they see positive changes in their mentee over the course of a year, including a newfound absence of mentee school suspensions
80% of mentees report an increase in academia
100% of youth who attended the Chance to Advance summer camp would enroll the following year if they could
Youth rated our summer camp an average of 9.8 out of 10
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What People Say About Chance to Advance
I use EAC Network as an advantage and I hope that other people use it as an advantage, too!
Having a mentor – someone to talk to – has really helped.
The Chance to Advance program is awesome!
EAC Network has given me an amazing mentor. She is fun to be around and I love the fact that I can be myself with her. Everything we have ever done, I’ve had so much fun. Before I met my mentor, I was always mad, felt alone, and my grades were really bad. When I got that call saying they found me a mentor, I thought nothing would change, but things did change. I started going to school, I stopped being so angry, and I stopped feeling so alone. My grades also got “fly high.” Thank you, EAC Network, for my amazing mentor.
Working with youth in foster care has been an invaluable experience. Being a child is difficult in itself, but being a child in foster care adds so much more pressure. Chance to Advance has allowed me to see such amazing changes in our youth, ranging from behaviors, grades, and attitudes, to setting and accomplishing goals. This program exposes our youth to new interests and opportunities that they may not have experiences otherwise. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that a child has gained something and it was because of your help.
Being a part of Chance to Advance has been such a rewarding experience. I am a mentor to a beautiful 15 year-old girl. She has an amazing heart along with a great personality. She has made some bad choices in her past, but who hasn’t? Before we were matched, she was not going to school, not doing well in her classes, and making poor decisions. Since I have been in the picture, she has turned her life around. She now attends school and classes regularly. I love hanging out with her and being that positive role model that she needs. We talk every day and we refer to each other as big and little sister. This is a bond that I see lasting forever, because we both want it to. She has shown such improvements. It makes me feel good that I am part of the reason why. Chance to Advance made this possible.
Throughout my life I have faced adversity head on, but the escape from my chaotic life was education. Losing my mother and being brought into the foster care system at a young age was the most terrifying period of my childhood. I was torn from my brother and sister’s arms and felt lonely and yet the only thing that stuck beside me was my education. I always knew that what I did in the classroom would reflect on myself and my future. School work was and still is my number one priority. Furthering my education is what will help myself and others in the future. The Chance to Advance scholarship has aided me with my education goals. With this scholarship, I was able to help others through my volunteer work as well as attain a 4.0 GPA. I always strive for the best in myself because I know that I can achieve anything I believe in and set my mind to. This scholarship has allowed me to attend Suffolk County Community College full time, as well as having the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people.
My name is Thomas T. Mentoring to me is all about making a difference. When I was growing up in the 60s, the youngest of three, my brother was in Vietnam most of that time, and I really didn’t have anyone to look up to at home. I was bullied at school and wasn’t good at sports. I remember that feeling of feeling alone. This is why I believe in mentoring kids. I retired in 2013, and my kids are grown. I decided I wanted to mentor.
I was volunteering at Stony Brook Hospital in pediatrics. The morning I was interviewed by EAC Network I volunteered at Stony Brook that same afternoon. I met my mentee, who is 6 years old, in the hospital. He was a very sick boy. He was covered with flea bites, malnourished, and had pneumonia. He was very angry but we hit it off right from the start. He had no one visiting him. I went to visit him every day for almost five weeks until he was placed in a new foster home. When I visited him he would take his medicine and eat for me. During the time when he was being placed in the new foster home, EAC Network accepted him into their Chance to Advance program. When I went to the new foster home my mentee was so excited to see me and ran up and gave me a great big hug. It was the greatest feeling in the world for me. I truly believe we were put together for a reason, no coincidences. I believe your childhood molds the rest of your life, and I am blessed to help this boy grow into a fine young man.