Youth in foster care have a hard time receiving a strong education due to the instability of a home life, special education needs and the lack of adults advocating for them (The Heritage Foundation). Only about 50 percent of kids in foster care graduate high school and 40 percent have educational difficulties. Less than three percent will graduate college with a four year degree (NYFI).
At the Ranch at Riverhead, education is one of the most important aspects of the residential programs. Residents who have not yet graduated high school attend class either at the local high school or in our on-campus Learning Center. Led by our Director of Education, Karenann Volinski, our team of teachers guide the Learning Center students through online courses. Through this system, called the Rapid Recovery Program, the young people that come to us behind in school are able to make up credits faster than in a traditional school setting. In 2017, we had one resident make up three years of credits in just one year, allowing him to finally earn his high school diploma.
We love getting to see the young people at the Ranch achieve their academic goals. For many of them, getting a high school diploma was something they never thought was possible. At the Ranch, we make that not only a tangible goal, but a requirement as a part of our programs. We hold the students to a high standard, requiring them to get an 80 or higher in each subject. In that last two years, we have helped 16 students graduate from high school.
The Learning Center also helps our young people pursue education after high school. They help the residents apply to and enroll in college if that a path they would like to take. Many of our young people attend Suffolk Community College and we have even had residents attend Harding University and Stony Brook University after completion of their Timothy Hill program.
We are so proud of all our young people’s academic accomplishments and we look forward to helping more students reach their education goals in this upcoming school year! To help us make that possible, please consider donating school supplies! You can drop them off or mail them to the administrative office at 298 Middle Road, Riverhead, New York 11901. You can also help by making a monetary donation here.