Helping Foster Youth Obtain a College Degree

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Nationwide, there are 438,000 youth in foster care and the numbers are growing. When asked, the majority of them say they want a college degree but only 3% will get one. 23,000 will exit the system each year, most without family or financial support. At All American we see the importance of helping youth who are aging out of the foster care system and are announcing our corporate sponsorship of The Gilbert Scholarship.

As a corporate sponsor, All American Relocation will provide two scholarships to students at Wake Technical Community College. “It is our way of paying it forward” said Joe Coffman, president of All American Relocation. “Darlena’s story is so compelling and partnering with her was an easy decision” said Coffman.

Darlena Moore (right) presents to a Gilbert Champs recipient.

The Gilbert Scholarship was founded by Darlena Moore. Darlena remembers what it was like to become a foster kid. Born poor in the Appalachian Mountains, Moore says that she was happy, loved, and cared for. She was one of five children and she had a beautiful, strong, hardworking single mother to look up to. Life wasn’t perfect, but they were a family, and most importantly, they were together.

One day, very unexpectedly, her life changed forever. She came home to find her house empty – her mother had been rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with late-stage leukemia. Moore eventually found herself in foster care after the courts separated her from her siblings. She was placed in several homes until she ended up at the home of Dick and Mary Gilbert.

Moore credits the Gilberts for helping guide her future and helping her with going to college. She had always wanted to go to college, but as Moore pointed out, most foster children do not get that opportunity. 

Originally, the money she raised from her sales of Mountain Girl Granola helped to fund several scholarships, and those efforts eventually led her to start a non-profit, The Gilbert Scholarship, Inc.which helps kids aging out of foster care go to college. “Dick and Mary added so much beauty and purpose to my life,” said Moore. “The Gilberts always drove home the words that many kids in foster care never hear, “You have a right to be here.”

If you would like more information please visit https://mountaingirlinitiative.com/gilbert-scholarship/