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Fostering Greatness

Row 1 (l-r): Reid Lehman, Eric Englebardt, Brooke Culclasure, Bobbie Rhodes
Row 2 (l-r): Charles Harris, Lee Davis, Elizabeth Varga, Thomas Bonn, Frank O'Brien

DLI Group 2 formed a partnership with a local Greenville nonprofit, Fostering Great Ideas (FGI), to increase their pool of mentors by 25%, with a focus on increasing the diversity of mentors so that children in foster care can be mentored by someone with whom they can easily identify. You can learn more about FGI at

Extensive research shows that the most critical indicator of future success for a child aging out of the foster care system is that those children have a long term relationship with a healthy, caring adult. Prior to FGI, Greenville County case management estimates that only 30% of the county's aged out youth left foster care while in a continuing relationship with a caring adult. In a recent national study, youth aging out of foster care without families or mentors were followed for five years after leaving care. The study revealed: 

  • 25% had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder  
  • 20% percent had a major depressive episode over the last 12 months
  • Only 56% had a high school diploma
  • 66% of these young adults now had a baby
  •  8% of their babies were already back in foster care

The vision of FGI is that “Every child that experiences foster care will feel supported and surrounded by family and community.” The Life Support portion of FGI recruits and provides mentors for children in foster care in the Upstate over the age of 11. It is expected that this relationship will continue at least 18 months (the minimum time research indicates is necessary for a successful outcome) and continues whether the child remains in foster care, returns to a birth family or ages out of the system. This nonprofit began in April 2012 with 20 mentors. When our Capstone project began, FGI had 60. 

Specific Goals of the Fostering Greatness Capstone Group:

  1. Increase the pool of mentors by at least 25% (minimum of 15 new mentors)
  2. Raise at least $12,000, ¼ of a salary, to provide the staff support for supervising these mentors
  3. Open connections to a more diverse community for recruitment, as there is a specific need for more mentors that represent the ethnic background of children in care
  4. Expand the visibility of Fostering Great Ideas in our community
  5. Gain understanding of the needs of S.C.’s foster care children so all of us can be effective advocates going forward

Activities Completed to date:

  1. The Capstone Group II  participated in a three-hour training that included a foster care simulation, an exploration of the need, and to plan a solution
  2. A recruitment breakfast was held at OJ’s Diner with 18 participants
  3. A presentation was made to the Deacon Ministry at Reedy River Missionary Baptist Church
  4. A presentation was made to the Upstate SC National Pan-Hellenic Council to recruit for a variety of FGI program possibilities
  5. A 5’ x 3’ banner has been created and donated to FGI
  6. Funds given and pledged by group members and raised from others by 12/11/14 were $7,920. These funds will be matched an anonymous donor for a total so far of $15,840. Additional requests for support are pending.
  7. Twenty three new mentors have been recruited, 18 of them African Americans—helping with our diversity goal
  8. Training for new mentors is currently scheduled on February 7 from 9 am – 12:00 pm and February 9 from 6-8 pm at Reedy River Missionary Baptist Church
  9. Assistance and volunteers have  been secured for  other FGI programs—Making Memories—guiding family visits with crafts and reading  and Sib—Link—creating visitation opportunities for siblings