Helping Youth in Care Find School & Life Success

At the tender age of five, Bria* became a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) youth in care. The years that followed were challenging, as she struggled with depression and desperately searched for her family. Bria enrolled in STRIVE (Strategies to Rejuvenate Interest and Value in Education) during her freshman year and found a caring advocate and trusted support in her STRIVE counselor. At 16, she located her biological mother and was eager to make a connection. Her STRIVE counselor worked with DCFS to facilitate a reunion that brought healing to Bria’s life and allowed her to return to the care of her mother. Tragically, her mother passed away from cancer only six months after Bria’s case closed with DCFS. By working closely with her STRIVE counselor, Bria once again found the strength to face her tremendous sense of loss, maintain her grades, graduate on time and secure admission to a four-year university. STRIVE provided the continuous care Bria needed to overcome her depression and personal hardships.

STRIVE meets youth in care where they are—both socially and emotionally—empowering them through encouragement, support and guidance.  STRIVE helps youth like Bria navigate difficult life circumstances, stay engaged in school and gain the tools necessary for future success.

* Name changed for confidentiality.


All children need nurturing relationships, adult guidance and access to a quality education. For more than 20,000 Chicago children involved in the foster care system, these needs are even more pressing. STRIVE works to meet these core needs by promoting the well-being of youth in care through structured counseling and well-rounded supports.

A strategic collaboration between Youth Guidance, Chicago Public Schools and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, STRIVE serves youth who have experienced trauma or neglect by integrating support systems within the school environment.  Staff act as mentors and advocates by determining the needs of students and offering resources that help fill identified voids. Staff outreach and support helps in-care youth transition into adulthood and lead productive lives.

STRIVE serves youth ages 14-21 through one-on-one counseling, college tours, social and educational enrichment field trips, parent and family engagement educational workshops and educational activities.

striveSTRIVE staff work to develop and maintain positive, supportive relationships with youth in care and their caregivers.  Their work includes ongoing support activities,such as:

  • Crisis intervention and stabilization
  • Counseling supports
  • Grade, behavior and attendance monitoring
  • Collaboration/advocacy with school and Illinois DCFS
  • Home visits
  • Referrals to relevant resources
  • Post-secondary planning

YouthGuidance_20150729_023STRIVE helps youth in care who have suffered abuse or neglect develop new life skills and coping strategies for a restored sense of enthusiasm and hope for the future.  

Your kind donation helps support this effort.

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