Following the path of foster care youth program

Sergei Bing, left, and Jillian Cadman. (photo: JMG)

by Jessica Roderick

As the JMG College Success Specialist at Kennebec Valley Community College, it has been an honor to witness, firsthand, the incredible academic journey of Jillian Cadman and Sergei Bing. Over the past three years, I have had the privilege of watching these two grow, mature and overcome many obstacles on their path to success. Jillian and Sergei are both foster care youth who have faced some serious challenges. In fact, statistics show that only 2-3 percent of foster youth actually graduate from college. These two students ignored and beat those odds, and have proceeded to write their own stories.

Jillian graduated from KVCC this past December with an associate’s degree in early childhood education and is currently interviewing for a position within her field of study. Sergei is receiving his associate’s degree in applied electronics and computer technology from KVCC next month and has already been accepted to the University of Southern Maine where he will pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science this fall.

Both students credit some very important support systems in place at KVCC. They were enrolled in JMG’s College Success Program, a unique college prep, bridging and attainment program that focuses on ensuring students don’t just enroll in college, but receive the support they need to attain a degree. They also received critical help from the Good Will-Hinckley College Step Up (CSU) Program, which focuses on education, life skills and network development for youth who need a supportive environment.

During a recent conversation with Sergei and Jill, they both agreed this journey has been anything but easy. They discussed their battles with anxiety, issues with self-confidence, as well as learning how to prioritize and tune out distractions. There were difficult days where they could have chosen to quit. Instead, they pushed on, proved their resilience, and were able to achieve their goals. And, I am confident that this is only the beginning. The sky is the limit for Jill and Sergei, and I cannot wait to see where the future takes them.


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