There is a significant void in the care of foster youth when they turn 18 and “age out” of the foster care system. These youth are literally thrown out into a world with no family to fall back on, minimal financial resources, and limited education and job skills. Without guidance and financial support, the chances of these youth becoming successful and self-sufficient adults are low.

Studies confirm that former foster youth are at risk of poverty, homelessness, drug use, mental health problems, and criminal activity. The statistics show:

  • 40% of the homeless population consists of former foster youth.
  • By age 20, only 38% are employed and fewer than half have ever held a full time job.
  • Nearly 33% had been incarcerated and/or arrested.
  • Although 70% of foster youth have hopes of attending college, only 10% actually enroll.
  • Well below 1% of foster youth actually complete their college education.

The Mary Graham Children’s Foundation is improving these odds by providing many bright, motivated young adults with an opportunity to further their academic and life skills, which will ultimately provide the financial and societal support they need to build success in their future. The Foundation’s Trade School + College Scholarship Program makes it possible for former foster youth to attend a college or trade school of their choice. The Foundation truly believes that all young adults deserve a chance to pursue their educational dreams.

The Trade School + College Scholarship Program is unique in that it pairs each scholarship recipient with a mentor to provide an invaluable service: intellectual, emotional, and day-to-day support that most of our youth would otherwise not have. The mentors help the students follow their academic plans and provide the motivational support they need to achieve their goals.

Our programs provide our students with an all-encompassing package that helps them achieve success. We are continually impressed by the positive outcomes of our program. 

Partner with us and invest in the future of our local foster youth.

For more information on the scholarship program or to see if you qualify, please call (209) 468-7635.

The Application Process

New Applicants Only

New Application Process

Returning Applicants

Application Renewal

Before next board meeting!

Special Request Form

Current Applicants

Summer School Funding

All Applicants


Jessica's Story

Jessica Tacdol was one of the first recipients of a Foundation scholarship. Jessica’s story is one of survival, hard work, and success, and truly represents the hope that our programs are all about. Jessica graduated from California State University, Stanislaus because of our donors generous support. 

Jessica entered the foster care system at just 18 months old, and at age 10, was a resident of the Mary Graham Children’s Shelter for a few months. After many trying years and several placements, she was aged out at age 18.

Defying all odds, Jessica graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies. Jessica plans to pursue her credential at Stanislaus and wants to become a high school counselor.

As a scholarship recipient, Jessica’s tuition and educational expenses were paid in full. “It’s more than just tuition though,” Jessica said. ‘They bought me a computer to help with my schoolwork. They’ve given me gift certificates for groceries, . The’ve helped with rent when financial aid didn’t cover it.” When a hardship arises, Jessica discusses her needs with her mentor who was assigned to her as a scholarship recipient. “I like the mentorship they provide. My mentor and I have gotten really close, they did a good job matching me with the right person. They said I could do it, and not that I’m almost finished, it feels really good.”