SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — In San Diego County, African American children make up 5% of the population, yet 12% of Black children are in foster care.
It's why the organization, Promises2Kids, created a mentorship program that Black youth could identify with.
Promises2Kids serves over 3,000 current and former foster youth in San Diego County.
Makayla Scott entered foster care when she was five years old.
"It just wasn't the best experience. I became a young mother at the age of 16 and I knew that education was going to be my only way out," Scott said.
Scott was introduced to Promises2Kids while attending community college.
Its Black Group program provides a safe space where students and their mentors can talk about the Black experience.
"The best part is they [mentors] look like me. We share some of the same experiences and I don't have to explain nothing to them. They already understand," Scott said.
"Unfortunately, in foster care, oftentimes you can be reared in a household where there are no Black people, and so a part of your culture is lost, a part of your identity is lost," said Rashida Elimu, Promises2Kids Director of Programs.
Elimu said conversations range from police brutality to lighter topics like hair care.
The group meets once a month at different locations across San Diego County.
"Really it's an opportunity to commune together, to fellowship together," Elimu said.
The goal of the group is to provide Black youth guidance as they transition out of the foster care system.
But, more than anything, it's about letting them know they're not alone.
"When programs and services end... because they abruptly end for young people... when they end, you're not walking away from it by yourself. You have a community around you that you know that will step up and move into the world with you," Elimu said.
The organization also has specialty groups for Latinx foster youth and LGBTQ foster youth.