For many of us, the holidays are time to connect and catch up with loved ones. Natasha, a JCCA client coming home from her first semester at SUNY Oswego, has many new experiences to share with her family and friends this season—and she’s also sharing them with us.

In Natasha’s own words:

Kids in foster care go through a lot. As I got toward the end of high school, I knew I wanted to start fresh. I felt I needed to change my environment, and I hoped to go to college upstate. But I didn’t see how I could afford it. I was down in the dumps, about to give up on my dream, when I talked to Michelle Ramos, JCCA’s Education Coordinator.


Michelle helped with everything––transcripts, applications, financial aid, and planning for all the logistics that come with living on your own for the first time. She made sure I had everything I needed, even little things like supplies for class and sheets for my dorm room. Michelle also connected me to resources that provide mentoring, tutoring, and funds for unexpected expenses.


Anytime I’m going through something or could use a little advice I know I have someone I can turn to. I didn’t think I could afford to travel home for Thanksgiving, for example. I called Michelle and a few days later she had tickets for me. I’m almost done with my first semester in Oswego. I’m meeting so many different people and I can walk to Lake Ontario from my dorm. I wouldn’t be here without Michelle.

Be there for all JCCA youth, the way Michelle is there for Natasha. Consider making a life-changing gift this season.