Press Releases

Press Releases2019-03-28T02:02:45+00:00


The Foster Youth Pre-College Collective Releases “Destination Graduation” Report; Underscores Foster Youth Challenges and Promising Practices That Successfully Impact Academic Progression


LOS ANGELES, Calif. (June 4, 2024) – Deeper investment in highly relational one-on-one services will close the persistent gap between the high school completion rates of youth in the foster care system and other K-12 students, according to a new report, Destination Graduation: Investing in the Educational Attainment of California’s Youth in Foster Care. Nearly 37% of California’s foster youth do not complete high school within four years, and their completion rate is 28% lower than the rate for all students. Released by The Foster Youth Pre-College Collective (tFYPC), the report calls attention to: the unique life challenges youth in foster care face due to the trauma of family separation and chronic instability; why public systems have struggled to respond to these barriers despite reform efforts; and elevates promising practices that have been shown to help youth complete high school and pursue post-secondary education.   

Serving over 3,000 students per year across California, tFYPC is comprised of six leading California-based foster youth direct service provider organizations. tFYPC’s members have a combined high school completion rate of 88.2% for students in foster care, with 78% of participating youth enrolling in post-secondary education. Understanding that with high-frequency, individualized support, foster youth are more likely to stay engaged in school, tFYPC members are partnering to increase the number of high school foster youth receiving educational services. 


“While new public funding isn’t feasible in this current economic climate, schools and educators still have foster youth in their classrooms who desperately need added support,” said Matt Strieker

Chief Executive Officer, United Friends of the Children. “This report elevates demonstrated successful practices that community-based organizations are utilizing today, and perhaps through strategic collaboration between CBOs and public systems, we can better meet the needs of our kids in these budget-strapped times.” 

The report highlights prior state reform efforts that have sought to increase funding, improve school stability, enhance service coordination and designate and empower adults in educational decision-making for youth in foster care. At best, these efforts have created a more responsive system. Still, none of these reforms provide the kind of one-on-one support needed for a student who is managing the complex trauma arising from family separation. Across educational outcomes, youth in foster care fare worse than all other high-needs populations, including students who are homeless, have a disability or are migrant or socioeconomically disadvantaged. 

“When I was in my sophomore year, I went to one high school for two weeks and then switched because it didn’t work out with that family,” said Andi Mata, foster youth ambassador. “Because I kept transferring high schools, I fell behind in my classes, was never evaluated for an IEP when I should have been, and teachers began to just pass me along. It’s only because I found a college support program that I made it to college at all, but I’m still struggling and playing catch up.”

Programs that achieve positive results are youth-driven and guided by trained experts dedicated to addressing the academic and developmental needs of students with foster care experience. Foundational to all tFYPC member programs are one-on-one relationships that follow the youth regardless of their system status (i.e., if they exit care while enrolled in the program). Additional key components include

  • Individualized, frequent and trauma-informed educational counseling and post-secondary planning for youth in grades 6-12
  • Social-emotional skill building and therapeutic supports 
  • Financial assistance for emergencies, enrichments and scholarships 
  • Community building through social activity, peer mentoring, youth leadership and service learning projects   

For more information or to access the full report, visit

About the Foster Youth Pre-College Collective 

Established in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, the Collective is led by six of California’s leading direct service organizations First Star, Inc., Children Youth and Family Collaborative (CYFC), National Center for Youth Law (NCYL), Pivotal, Promises2Kids, and United Friends of the Children – serving youth in 10 California counties, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. Member organizations offer transformational, community-based programs that achieve a combined high school graduation rate of 88.2% for students in foster care, with 78% of participating youth enrolling in post-secondary education. As California’s foster youth continue to lag behind nearly every other high-needs student population, the Collective seeks to create a sustainable public funding source dedicated to providing all foster youth across the state with the support they need to graduate from high school and successfully pursue progressive post-secondary educational and career development pathways aligned with their interests and goals. 

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June 5th, 2024|

Promises2Kids Celebrates ESET Partnership

February 1, 2018


San Diego, CA – ESET, a global player in information security in San Diego, has completed 3 years as a valued corporate partner of Promises2Kids supporting San Diego foster youth.  Through scholarships, mentors, event sponsorship and over 200 hours of volunteer support, ESET truly exemplifies a company that gives back to its community.  

“ESET is a hands-on group, whose passion and dedication to helping foster youth is evident through the time, talent and treasure which they have generously donated throughout the years,” said Tonya Torosian, CEO of Promises2Kids.  “In addition to volunteers helping at our Concert Gala, Holiday Gift Drives and Back to School shopping event, ESET provided a team of volunteers who planned a fun day at Belmont Park for over 100 high school foster youth. ESET was also a key sponsor of our Guardian Scholars Awards Reception and Dream On Concert Gala, raising critical funds for foster youth.”

Tonya noted that ESET’s sponsorship of scholarships to help further the education of Guardian Scholars has been vital to the success of Promises2Kids students. Members of ESET’s senior leadership have also stepped up as mentors, and have played instrumental roles in the academic journeys of foster youth.

One of ESET’s employees has been an active mentor at Promises2Kids since 2016. For two years, she has supported her student throughout her college career and attends every Guardian Scholars event. Their relationship continues to grow stronger as time goes on.

“Promises2Kids is fortunate to have an amazing company like ESET right here in our very own backyard,” said Torosian.  Eset’s commitment to and support of Promises2Kids’ mission truly impacts foster youth and changes their lives for the better. They are making a huge difference for foster children and showing them that there are people out there who genuinely care about them and want to invest in their futures.”   



February 21st, 2018|

ARHAUS Donates to Promises2Kids

January 31, 2018


San Diego, CA – ARHAUS, a company founded with a passion to provide unique, high quality, well-designed home furnishings, has donated 10% of grand opening sales to Promises2Kids. ARHAUS selected Promises2Kids as its charity of choice to receive 10% of sales during its recent grand opening event at Westfield UTC.

“We thank ARHAUS for honoring us as its charity of choice,” said Tonya Torosian, CEO of Promises2Kids. “It is because of companies like ARHAUS and charitable members in our community that we can continue offering programs that benefit current and former foster youth in San Diego County.”


February 21st, 2018|

Promises2Kids Names Emily Wilson Hassig as Chief Development Officer

January 22, 2018 


San Diego, CA — Promises2Kids is pleased to announce the promotion of Emily Wilson Hassig to Chief Development Officer. Hassig comes to the organization with more than eight years of development experience and has been serving as the Director of Major Gifts for Promises.  Prior to joining Promises2Kids, Hassig oversaw fundraising initiatives at two Scripps Health hospitals – Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas and Scripps Mercy Hospital.

“Education and support are the biggest gifts that we can give to our children, because they are the future of our society. It is something that the entire community should make a priority. The programming and services that Promises2Kids provides to the foster youth in San Diego County helps ensure their growth and success in life and I am proud to lead the efforts to make this possible,” said Hassig.


February 21st, 2018|

Ticket to Dream Foundation Names Promises2Kids as a 2017 Grant Recipient

December 19, 2017


San Diego, CA – Promises2Kids, one of San Diego’s foremost nonprofits, with a focus on foster care and children’s welfare, was recently selected as one of the 2017 grant recipients of the Ticket to Dream Foundation’s Dream It’s Possible grants.  The $30,000 grant will go the Promises2Kids’ Guardian Scholars program. The program begins in high school with Junior Guardian Scholars, which works with foster youth beginning in high school to ensure they graduate from high school, advance to college, and complete their higher education. Guardian Scholars provides scholarships, financial aid, mentor opportunities, guidance and preparatory support prior to and throughout foster youth’s college experience. The program boasts an over 80% success rate for the former foster youth who participate, as compared to the 8% national rate.

With 25,000 foster children between the ages of 18 – 24 aging out of foster care yearly, the goal of Ticket to Dream Foundation’s Dream It’s Possible program is to arm foster youth with support programs that help them graduate high school, enroll in college or vocational training, learn valuable life skills, obtain access to technology, and ensure that they have proper housing ready for their transition to independent living. These resources are made possible by the co-hosted Mattress Firm Charity Golf Classic and through generous supporters and donors. 

“Ticket to Dream is proud to lend our support and resources to this year’s Dream It’s Possible grantee programs. With a record setting number of applications and a robust review process, we believe these resources will allow more than 2,000 youth aging out of care to be surrounded with stellar support practices and initiatives that boost their chance at success and reduce the number of youth facing homelessness.” – Gina Davis, Ticket to Dream Executive Director & President



February 21st, 2018|

Jeffrey Strauss Named to Promises2Kids Board of Directors

November 17, 2017


San Diego, CA — Promises2Kids has named Jeffrey Strauss to its Board of Directors. Strauss is the Executive Chef and Owner of Pamplemousse Grille in Solana Beach, a Zagat-rated #1 Restaurant in San Diego for three consecutive years. He was honored in 2008 as San Diego Nice Guy of the Year.

Chef Strauss has prepared everything from intimate meals to huge banquets for the most prestigious corporate names in America and Europe (Tiffany & Co., Disney Studios, Paine Webber, UNOCAL, 20th Century Fox, Neiman Marcus, Hermes, Chanel, Gucci, MCA, Amblin Entertainment); for such dignitaries as President George W. Bush, the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the wedding of Caroline Kennedy, and the 1984 inaugural luncheon for Ronald Reagan; and entertainment luminaries such as Aaron Spelling, Tom Hanks, Elton John, and Steven Spielberg.

“Promises2Kids is truly honored to welcome Jeffrey to our Board,” said Tonya Torosian, MSW, CFRE, the organization’s CEO.  “Jeffrey and his wife support many charities in our community and have been involved with Promises2Kids for nearly five years. We’re excited about the vision and enthusiasm he brings to our Board.

Each year Promises2Kids provides more than 3,000 current and former foster youth in San Diego County with the tools, opportunities and guidance they need to address the circumstances that brought them into foster care, overcome the difficulties of their past and grow into healthy, happy and successful adults. Promises2Kids supports these children through its four programs: Polinsky Children's Center, Camp Connect, Guardian Scholars and Foster Funds.



February 21st, 2018|

Promises2Kids’ Official Airline; Southwest Airlines. Our Cherished Corporate Partner

September 25, 2017

San Diego, CA- In today’s business climate, corporate social responsibility is as important as the bottom line. In fact, it can be a key strategy to increasing the bottom line and keeping employees and shareholders engaged. Southwest Airlines recognizes the importance of serving as a philanthropic corporate citizen, and Promises2Kids can testify to its impact on the children and young adults it serves.

Southwest Airlines has been Promises2Kids’ Official Airline since 2014. Since then, they have been a huge community partner and have supported the entire agency, including sponsorships for Promises2Kids’ Junior Guardian Scholars program, and its Dream On Concert Gala.

“Customers with a favorable impression of a company’s charitable activities are three times more likely to be loyal customers,” said Bob Kelly, former president and CEO of The San Diego Foundation. He added that employees who believe in their company’s philanthropy are five times more likely to remain with that employer.” 

Tonya Torosian, CEO of Promises2Kids, emphasized that the organization’s relationship with Southwest Airlines is unique and special. “Southwest has truly taken that extra step that means so much to us,” she said. “Its responsiveness to our mission and generosity has enabled our Junior Guardian Scholars and chaperons to travel Southwest at no cost on annual college tours, and attend out of state events and staff training and development programs. It has endowed us with airfare for foster youth to go home for the holidays, and airfare and gift cards for several fundraising initiatives through live and silent auctions. Since 2016, Southwest has sponsored a student through a Guardian Scholars scholarship that they provide. Any time that Promises2Kids has a need, Southwest Airlines has always come through and been there to support us.”

Tonya added, “Many people take opportunities like this for granted. Many of our foster youth have never flown before, so this was their first experience flying in an airplane. For some, this was their first time traveling outside of San Diego. Because this opportunity is not often afforded to our foster youth and they have no one to take them, this experience can be life changing.”

For years, Southwest Airlines has been a sponsor of Promises2Kids’ annual Dream On Concert Gala; a sold out event benefiting San Diego County foster youth. This year, it served as the Champagne Reception Sponsor.

“We’d like to extend a special thank you to Lidia S. Martinez, Southwest Airlines’ Manager of Community Affairs and Grassroots.  She has demonstrated a heart of gold and shown a sincere interest in the futures of foster youth here in San Diego County,” said Tonya.  “Through her involvement, Southwest Airlines is our cherished corporate citizen and Promises2Kids’ Official Airline.”

“Southwest Airlines is committed to fostering healthy communities and strives to positively influence the lives in each community in a meaningful way,” said Lidia. “Southwest Airlines is proud to support Promises2Kids and its mission to create a brighter future for foster children. With a little help, today’s youth will become tomorrow’s leaders!” 


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February 16th, 2018|

Promises2Kids Announces Three New Members to its Board of Directors

September 11, 2017


San Diego, CA – Promises2Kids, one of San Diego’s foremost nonprofits, with a focus on foster care and children’s welfare, has announced the addition of three new members to its Board of Directors; Danielle C. Humphries, Lisa Costa Corbosiero and Merrilee Neal.

“Promises2Kids is truly honored to welcome Danielle, Lisa and Merrilee to our Board,” said Tonya Torosian, MSW, CFRE, the organization’s CEO.  “These individuals bring a wealth of expertise and leadership to our Board. We’re excited about their vision and enthusiasm for our mission.”

Promises2Kids annually provides over 3,300 current and former foster youth in San Diego County with the tools, opportunities and guidance they need to address the circumstances that brought them into foster care, overcome the difficulties of their past and grow into healthy, happy and successful adults. Promises2Kids supports these children through our four core programs: Polinsky Children's Center, Camp Connect, Guardian Scholars and Foster Funds.

New board member Danielle C. Humphries is a partner in the San Diego office of law firm Hahn Loeser & Parks. Ms. Humphries focuses her legal practice in the areas of trusts & estates. Her practice includes estate planning, wealth transfer and preservation, business succession planning, trust administration, probate and trust and estate litigation. She has extensive experience in representing fiduciaries and beneficiaries in complex trust and estate administration and litigation. Ms. Humphries is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association, the North County Estate Planning Council of San Diego, and the Lawyers Club of San Diego.  She is president of the Mother Attorney Mentoring Association of San Diego. 

New board member Lisa Costa Corbosiero is co-owner of Hi Tech Honeycomb (HTH), a leading manufacturer and supplier of honeycomb detail for gas turbine engine seals located in San Diego, CA. HTH was founded by entrepreneur Joao Costa in 1989.  Ms. Costa Corbosiero currently serves on the Board of Directors and the Advisory Board for HTH. The company now serves over 150 of the world’s top jet engine manufacturers. Ms. Costa Corbosiero graduated with a B.A. in Mass Media Communications and International Relations from the University of San Diego in 1990. She received her Human Resources Management certification in 1999. She is actively involved in the San Diego community, and participates in the San Diego Family Business Counsel and sits on the alumni board of Cathedral Catholic High School. She volunteers for various projects with her teenage sons and lends her time to spread the word about organizations that assist youth in the foster care system in the San Diego area.

New board member Merrilee Neal graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She is a highly-driven professional who has served on non-profit boards for several years.  Ms. Neal has more than 12 years of experience as a small business owner. She is a 2013 graduate of LEAD San Diego and has recently acquired certificates in both public speaking and non-profit management. A 35-year San Diego resident, she and her husband, Mike, have been active philanthropists, giving and supporting several local organizations throughout the years. Ms. Neal is a five-year breast cancer survivor who has become one of the top fundraisers for Susan G. Komen San Diego’s Race for the Cure.




February 16th, 2018|

Promises2Kids Holds FORE KIDS Golf Tournament

September 8, 2017


San Diego, CA – Promises2Kids, one of San Diego’s foremost nonprofits, with a focus on foster care and children’s welfare, has scheduled its FORE KIDS Golf tournament. The event (, hosted by Jeannie and Arthur Rivkin, will take place on Monday, September 18, 2017 at the La Jolla Country Club.  Tournament registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a putting contest at 10:00 a.m. and a shotgun start at 11:00 a.m.  The event will conclude with an Awards Dinner. Registration fee is $500 per person, $2,000 for a foursome.  There are 112 slots available.

Gold Sponsors for the event are The Pala Band of Mission Indians and RL Howard Construction; Silver Sponsors include Cox Business Services, Don Duford, and Souza and Souza Construction. The Host Committee is comprised of Bobby Graham Real Estate, Kevin Smith, Marengo Morton Architects, Kevin Connolly, TaylorMade, Rob Butterfield, Harcourts Prestige Properties – La Jolla, and CBIZ.

“FORE KIDS is a wonderful opportunity to introduce Promises2Kids to our network of supporters,” said Tonya Torosian, MSW, CFRE, the organization’s CEO. “Promises2Kids annually provides over 3,300 current and former foster youth in San Diego County with the tools, opportunities, and guidance they need to address the circumstances that brought them into foster care, overcome the difficulties of their past, and grow into healthy, happy and successful adults.”

From six to 10 promising former foster youth will attend the tournament and golfers will have a chance to include one of them in their round.  The goal is to offer guidance about teamwork and building confidence and, provide some golf tips as well.

The top three teams at the FORE KIDS golf tournament will qualify to play in the 2018 Randy Jones Invitational at the newly-renovated Woods Valley Golf Club in January. The Randy Jones Invitational is the only championship golf tournament of its kind in San Diego. Teams that qualify for the invitational will compete for the ultimate golf prize — a Dream Golf Escape for four to Pebble Beach. In addition, the winning team will have $10,000 donated in their honor to the charity they are representing.

As part of this FORE KIDS Golf Tournament, players are encouraged to participate in the Coach-A-Youth fundraising campaign, which is dedicated to helping current and former foster youth learn the skills they need to achieve their goals in life. Promises2Kids coaches and mentors foster youth through unique programs including Guardian Scholars, Camp Connect, Men’s and Women’s Leadership Networks and more. Players can help support these programs by making a gift or starting a fundraising team through the Coach-A-Youth campaign, running until September 30th. (

This campaign is open to everyone, not just golfers. Top fundraisers will receive prizes from Promises2Kids’ Official Airline: Southwest Airlines. For players on September 18th, the foursome that raises the most by this date will be announced during the Awards Dinner and each player will receive two round-trip domestic tickets from Promises2Kids’ Official Airline, Southwest Airlines.



February 16th, 2018|
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