Cristal Ramirez, age 23

Spent 11 years in California’s Foster Care System

Cristal entered the Kern County foster care system at the age of one; she spent a total of eleven years in care. She exited care at the age seventeen when she was able to leave Bakersfield to attend her dream school, San Diego State University. After turning eighteen, she was able to participate in Extended Foster Care, where she experienced some challenges, but she was able to look to extra resources like the Guardian Scholars Program. Although Cristal experienced instability and multiple moves in care, she remained motivated to do well in the classroom, not only for herself but also so that she could remain a positive role model for her eight brothers and sisters.

Cristal graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in May 2018 and is now finishing her first year of graduate school. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Multicultural Counseling at San Diego State University. This past academic year, Cristal has gained experience working with youth in care as a Psychosocial Clinician and Case Manager at a foster care agency in San Diego. She has also been able to use her experience to improve some of the training that new foster parents are receiving through the agency. Cristal hopes to use her education to continue working with foster youth, specifically in higher education.

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