Conference Celebrates Goal Setting and Achievement for Foster Youth in Danville, Virginia


Education is a key component to overcome many of life’s challenges, yet five percent of Virginia teens between 16 and 19 years of age are not attending school and not working, which makes overcoming poverty a daily battle for them and, potentially, a lifelong one.

“Far too many of our teens have only heard what they can’t do which now auto-plays in their self-talk, so helping them dream and plot their brighter future could help them become part of a far better statistic where those who graduate with a postsecondary credential earn 66% more over their lifetime than those who don’t,” Danville Community College Great Expectations Coach Trish Sawyer said.

That’s why DCC’s Great Expectations program, a VFCCE Initiative for current or former foster youth, held a free mini conference called “@me – Slay Your Future” for teens aged 16 to 19 old to launch the Fall 2019 semester.

“We want our local teens to know they can start now on becoming who they want to be tomorrow – which they CAN do – right here in Danville.” Sawyer explained.

Danville Community College’s Great Expectations program recently held a GE Gives Back event to thank the donors who provided fun and useful items which helped fill over 60 bags, which were sent to local departments of social services for children who will enter foster care.

During the event, three engaging breakout sessions helped empower participants by providing fun, interactive, workshop-style sessions to learn more about career opportunities, academic planning, and money management. Lunch and snacks were provided during the conference, along with some awesome prizes and a big giveaway at the end of the day for some lucky winners. Breakout sessions were conducted by DCC employees: EOC Project Director Sharon Harris and Student Success Coach Kate Bye; and Project Life (UMFS) Independent Living Coordinator Jamesia Harrison.

All participants who attended and engaged during the sessions were eligible for a raffle drawing during each session and a big raffle drawing at the end of the day for a new laptop. Also, participants are eligible for priority registration for a Real World Simulation Event to be held in early January.