George Garcia spent 8 years in California's foster care system

At ten years old, George Garcia entered the foster care system with his four siblings. Spending eight years in care, George experienced eleven placements and was separated from his siblings. By the age of thirteen, George severed ties to his biological family and was forced to mature at an accelerated rate compared to his peers. In the foster care system, the consistent shift in environment, people, culture and religious practices proved difficult to adapt to - as well as the multitude of mischaracterizations and instances of criminalization that he encountered - George was able to persevere and excel in the academic and social organizational realm. With the support of instructors, mentors and a few remarkable social workers, George became a 2 term Vice President of his high school, joined college-bound and advanced programs and was accepted to University of California, Riverside.

Emancipated from foster care at the age of eighteen, George is set to graduate with honors from the University of California, Riverside with a Sociology degree. He is part of the Guardian Scholars program, Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, and uses free time to volunteer for many nonprofit organizations. Upon graduation, George hopes to participate in the Peace Corps' volunteering program, develop skills relating to public policy and crisis intervention, attend professional school for public policy and social administration, and become a foreign service officer.

Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2017 Outstanding Young Leaders