Denver Bar Association
May 2002
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Recognizing Graduating Foster Care Youth

by Laura Embleton

  The Celebration of Excellence honors 150 foster children on June 6.

Approximately 150 foster care youth in Colorado graduate from high school, vocational school or college, or obtain a G.E.D. every year. While a number of these children have contact with their families, or are in foster care with extended family, a large number of them are placed in foster care homes or group homes, and are moved a number of times throughout their lives. This includes being moved from school to school. These transitions can make achieving educational goals that much harder.

The "Celebration of Excellence" recognizes Colorado’s foster youth who have overcome hardships and graduated from an educational program.

For many of these kids, this is the only graduation ceremony they will participate in. The program is a traditional graduation ceremony with a few speakers and the presentation of the diplomas. The graduates receive special diplomas that are signed by Gov. Bill Owens and Marva Livingston Hammons, the director of the Department of Human Services. In addition, they receive gift packets that include a certificate for three free credit hours at most community colleges around Colorado, phone cards, electronic gift cards, and items from the Auraria colleges.

The program has grown and includes joint sponsorship from the Denver Bar Association, DBA YLD, DBA Community Concerns Committee, the Colorado Department of Human Services, the Arapahoe County Bar Association, the Arapahoe County Bar Foundation, a number of case workers from around Colorado, the Community Colleges Board, and the Whole Family, Inc., a private foster care placement agency.

The 2002 event will take place on June 6 at the Tivoli Center on the Auraria Campus. The ceremony will be from 6-7:30 p.m., with a cake and ice cream reception to follow. Please join fellow attorneys, the judiciary, and these children and their families in celebrating these graduates and all that they have overcome.

Each year a computer is given to a lucky graduate or two. The Celebration is a great place to donate used computers. Contact Laura Embleton if you would like to donate a computer or for more information, (303) 824-5369 or

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