Marissa Washburn

3 years in Foster Care

18 years old


Marissa Washburn is currently completing high school and will be attending American University in the fall, where she will study International Service and Spanish in the 3-year Global Scholars Program. She hopes for a career where she can serve children with special needs and other underserved individuals and families. She has worked as a student mentor and tutor, and has helped to direct afterschool programs at a school for low-income families. Marissa is a student athlete, and has spent three years as the Varsity cross country team captain. She also received the Christine Monk Huxtable Memorial Award as a member of her club ice hockey team. Marissa was chosen for the John C Pierson Jr. Award, a service award for the student at her school who shows appreciation and acceptance for all people through reflection and interaction.

Through a partnership with the nonprofit organization Children & Families First, Marissa created the Foster Children’s Enrichment Fund, which provides foster children in residential and in-home care with financial assistance to participate in extracurricular activities such as art, music, sports, and summer camps. Her efforts have raised over $22,000 to date. In addition to supporting foster youth in extracurricular activities, the funding was also used to secure computers so that young people could remain connected to mental health services and tutors during the pandemic. Additionally, Marissa volunteers with the Special Olympics of Delaware. She was honored as the United Way of Delaware Intern of the Year for her work on initiatives such as the Delaware Racial Justice Collaborative.

Marissa spent three years in foster care, and was adopted when she was a young child. Her adoptive parents continued to foster other young people throughout her childhood, and knowing what her foster siblings experienced inspired Marissa to do what she could to make life better for her peers. She was inspired to create the Foster Children’s Enrichment Fund so that other young people, like her foster siblings, would be able to have more access to opportunities that non-foster youth enjoy. .

Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2022 Outstanding Young Leaders