When she was 17, Jazzmine moved to San Joaquin County to live with an aunt in kinship foster care. Aging out soon afterward, she contacted local social services, only to be told she didn’t qualify for their after-care services for foster youth because she was from Alameda County.
Undeterred, Jazzmine looked online, found Beyond Emancipation (B:E), and reached out. From that point on, B:E has provided long distance support to Jazzmine, from helping her locate a housing program in San Joaquin to enrolling at Cal State Sacramento for her bachelor’s of social work, and from there on to the renowned George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, from which she graduated in December with a master’s degree.
“Connecting with B:E felt empowering” says Jazzmine, now 26. “I felt supported and relieved that there was somebody out there willing to help me because that was a really hard time in my life.” B:E’s book money program was “a really big help” throughout college and graduate school.
“When San Joaquin turned me down for services, I was afraid of having to live in a shelter, and working with B:E empowered me to stay focused and get everything together … It was so great to have that support.”
She chose Washington University for her MSW not only because it is one of the highest ranked social work programs in the country but also because she could individualize her curriculum to begin the process of becoming a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in California. Her studies focused on health, including research into the links between obesity and mental health as well as research on cancer and diabetes.
“I love doing research,” Jazzmine says. She is currently applying for research positions and direct service jobs in the medical field in California and St. Louis.
In her spare time, Jazzmine likes to spend time with friends, go to clubs, and knit, a skill she learned in high school. “I find it relaxing,” she says. She has knit purses, hats, scarves, even swimsuits.
Jazzmine is deeply appreciative of B:E for “offering that support and stability that former foster youth need to transition into adulthood and become educated and gain the skills to help them become an adult,” she says. “It helped me a lot, and I would love to help keep it going.”