Impact Stories

Thriving Against the Odds: Dulce’s Story

From foster care to academic accolades, Dulce’s journey is nothing short of inspirational!

Dulce made her way to First Place for Youth after beginning her post-secondary education at Pasadena City College (PCC). Though she lived in a warm, supportive foster care environment, the academic rigors of college life and a desire for more independence inspired her to seek a transitional housing program. Her social worker recommended First Place for Youth, and Dulce eagerly joined the program in 2022.

Over the last few years, Dulce has been working hard to get her Associate of Arts degree at PCC and has made the Dean’s List at PCC twice. After diligently applying to several four-year colleges, she received eight acceptances! Recently, Dulce proudly committed to CSU Long Beach as a transfer student because of their strong academics and robust foster youth support.

Dulce featured with her banner at Pasadena City College!

Transferring to a four-year university has opened up exciting possibilities, with law school emerging as a potential path. Dulce hopes to attend law school and is considering becoming an Employment Rights lawyer. Her journey and achievements have been so inspiring that Pasadena City College featured her on banners around the college! She reflects on her journey with gratitude, saying, “I genuinely don’t think that I could have gotten to this point without the support from First Place and the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS). The fact that I get to go to a university now is just a really big deal.”

Dulce’s journey is a testament to the support provided by First Place for Youth and DCFS. Her Youth Advocate’s personal connections has been invaluable, streamlining her access to the resources she needs. Her message to others in similar situations is clear: “Take advantage of the opportunities, because there are so many resources out there. You won’t know until you look for it.”

Dulce’s story illustrates that with resilience, determination, and the right support, young adults can overcome adversity, achieve academic success, and build a brighter future. We’re so proud of all she’s accomplished, and we know she will continue to shine!

Only 64% of youth with lived experience in foster care will enroll in some form of post-secondary education by age 23, whereas 80% of My First Place participants have enrolled after 6 months or more in our program. If you would like to support youth on their path to higher education, you can make a gift today here.


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