31 Oct Our Weekly – Jaquel Pitts: elevating from foster care to potential NFL draftee
According to a 2013 study conducted by the Child Welfare Information Gateway, an estimated 399,546 children are in America’s foster care system. Out of that high number, Gary Strangler, executive director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiatives, says thousands who age out of the system after turning 18-years-old have difficulties adjusting to life as an independent citizen.
“In fact, over the past decade, more than 200,000 teenagers have aged out of foster care often without achieving permanent family connections or those critical building blocks of support,” explained Strangler.
Despite overwhelming obstacles, one young man managing to excel post-foster care is Berkeley native Jaquel Pitts. Since making his exit from the system the day after his high school graduation in 2012, the 20-year-old has managed to earn an associate degree in social science from College of Siskiyous. He is working on his bachelor’s degree and pressing toward a promising NFL career.