It's tough enough to pay for college these days, even tougher if you're a foster child with uncertain citizenship. Now, a program run by the College Success Foundation is presenting a record fifty-five foster kids with scholarships worth $2,000 to $4,000 a year for up to five years.
One of them will be Kape Cosmos, who came to Washington at age 13 from a refugee camp in Kenya, not speaking a word of English. Her parents died of disease at the camp, so she and her older brother had to take care of their three younger siblings in the hot, dusty and dangerous camp.
"The diapers, the cooking," Kape rolls her eyes. "I was so scared. The men there, they were kind of different. They weren't respectful, so you had to be really careful."
For the last five years, Kape and her four siblings were fostered by a Carnation couple who also have three biological children. They moved to Redmond so the kids could be closer to school and friends. Kape studied hard, earning a 3.5 GPA. She also played on the basketball team and sang in the jazz choir. Her favorite songs are R&B and country western.
Kape says she'll use her scholarship to attend Bellevue College and hopes to then transfer to Seattle Pacific University.
"I think I'm going to pursue a career as a social worker because I had a great social worker and she taught me a lot," said Kape. "I'd like to give back and help others like she did."
Former governors Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire will present 55 "Governor's Foster Youth Scholarships" at a ceremony Monday May 12 at 2 p.m. at the Columbia Tower Club in Seattle.