The 2014 Fall Gala marked the 11th anniversary of the NYFC Spirit Award, a $10,000 scholarship awarded annually to a young person in foster care who has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills, a commitment to community, and the determination and ability to overcome the barriers to academic success. Northwell Health sponsored the Spirit Award.


Jermaine Christian

Jermaine Christian is a 22 year-old student at New York University. He is in his junior year with a major in Leadership and Management Studies with a concentration in International Business. Jermaine’s academic talent and his ability to overcome life’s challenges make him an excellent recipient of this year’s Spirit Award.

When he was 14 and just starting high school, Jermaine entered foster care. Being in foster care never allowed Jermaine to feel completely settled, as he was always facing unexpected changes. Although he graduated from high school on time, he soon found he was unprepared to deal with the challenges of college, and was forced to withdraw.

While this was a hard lesson for Jermaine to learn, he says “sometimes you have to go through rough times to prepare for greatness.” Soon after Jermaine joined the Year Up program, where he was introduced to Nicholas Scoppetta and Susan Magazine, and learned about New Yorkers For Children. While attending New Yorkers For Children’s Network to Success event, he realized the importance of a college degree in order to secure a better future.

Jermaine was accepted into New York University where he received a 3.9 GPA during his first semester. He joined NYU’s Gentleman of Quality Club, a civic-minded brotherhood that promotes leadership, scholarship and service. he also joined the New Yorkers For Children’s Youth Advisory Board, where he currently serves as Treasurer.

This scholarship will help Jermaine pay for his educational expenses as he continues to pursue his goals and earn his Bachelor’s degree. He says “I still have much to learn, but I’m dedicated to turning a big vision into a brilliant future.”

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