Brian is a 21-year-old sophomore majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Social Work at SUNY – Genessee Community College in upstate New York. Brian’s academic talent, unwavering commitment to community service, and determination to succeed, despite facing significant obstacles, make him an outstanding and deserving recipient for this year’s Spirit Award.
After the death of his mother, Brian entered foster care at the age of nine with one sister and two brothers. Brian has been able to persevere through life’s most difficult challenges. During his senior year of high school, Brian moved to four different foster. With his grades suffering and becoming increasingly more frustrated, he thought his only option was to drop out of high school and look for a job. Brian’s life and aspirations changed after his foster care agency sponsored a trip to a local college. Realizing he wanted to go to college, Brian enrolled in an alternative high school program where he could work during the day and attend classes in the evening. He graduated from the program with perfect attendance, a Regents diploma, and a citizenship award.
As captain of his middle school soccer, baseball and basketball teams, Brian learned how to be a leader from an early age. As a teenager, he served as the Chairman of his foster care agency’s Youth Advisory Board, a committee that provides peer-to-peer mentoring for other youth in foster care. In this role he co-chaired a college trip to Washington DC for 25 youth and has mentored and tutored many boys in his foster care agency. He is currently organizing a support group for children in foster care who have lost their mothers. Brian’s compassion and empathy in his work with these young men are evident to all who work with him.
The Spirit Award scholarship will assist Brian to pay for his college expenses as he transfers to a four-year college. Brian’s ultimate goal is to graduate from college and one day be married and raise a family. He also hopes to return to his foster care agency to work with youth in foster care.