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Project ESTEEM Helps Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Academic Success


Raymond McQueen is a 20 year old man has worked to succeed despite facing many challenges. Ray was not only a former foster youth, but he has struggled with learning difficulties since elementary school and was diagnosed with ADHD. Ray lived with the same foster family all his life. However, when his foster dad passed, the family lost their home and most of their stability. When the family was forced to move Ray found himself in a neighborhood that presented the temptation of gangs and violence.


For the past few years, Foothill has administered a transitioning foster youth program. It was found that approximately 40% of the foster youth enrolled in the program have gang affiliations or some level of interaction. Ray enrolled in Project ESTEEM (CalGRIP) in August of 2009, as an emancipated foster youth. Ray had aspirations of attending college and enrolled. The program’s Academic/Career Counselor provided guidance to help Ray navigate the academic process and stay in school. During his tenure with the program Ray received tutoring and other academic assistance. The program also assisted with transportation to get him to and from school.


Ray continued to try to go to school despite the distractions and pitfalls his neighborhood presented. Ray worked part time to gain work experience while attending school. In June 11, 2010, Ray graduated with an AA Degree from Mount San Antonio College, and is transferring to Cal Poly. Ray has personally expressed that the encouragement and “hand holding” that the Project ESTEEM provided helped him achieve his academic goals. Ray feels the support, love, encouragement and positive reinforcement received from the staff of this program is what helped him through.

Submitted by Foothill Workforce Development Board, Pasadena, CA
July 12, 2013