Off to College!

June 18, 2021
Rebecca Hutchinson

On June 10, Children’s Institute honored nearly 100 foster youth enrolled in our Individualized Transition Skills Program (ITSP) who are graduating high school and attending college this fall. The fifth annual Dream BIG celebration was virtual for the second year, just days before COVID-19 restrictions ended in California.

CII CEO Martine Singer opened the program by congratulating the graduates for overcoming significant obstacles in their lives.  And they have truly beat the odds: among 19-year olds participating in ITSP, 76 percent are continuing their studies, compared to just 53 percent nationwide.

One graduate spoke about the challenges she has overcome: “Moving a lot… has not been easy. I moved three times my senior year and almost 11 my freshman year… But this has helped me make decisions with my life.”

Keynote Johnny Hekker, punter for the LA Rams and friend of CII, spoke live from SoFi Stadium, saying, “Congratulations to you for all you have achieved; there’s nothing more beautiful than you guys prioritizing your education… you will be speaking at graduations just like this one day, I know it.”





High-energy Power 106 DJ Jonathan Q had another positive message:





A virtual yearbook scrolled as names were read aloud, followed by CII friend DJ Lani Love‘s live set. Being virtual didn’t hold anyone back from dancing up a storm!

To ensure a head start in the fall, each graduate received a dorm kit filled with supplies, all generously donated by one of CII’s wonderful support groups, The Colleagues.

A huge shout out goes to our amazing graduates and many thanks to our special guests and sponsors!