The Youth in Foster Care Scholarship fund will make awards to young adults who are aging-out of foster care and want to develop a marketable skill or those who want to continue their education at a post-secondary school. The Nelsons hope they can positively impact the lives of young people who have already suffered from the insecurity of an unstable childhood. Applicants may be high school graduating seniors, recent graduates, those with a GED certificate, or an undergraduate in college. Students may attend a nonprofit or public educational institute in New Mexico or out-of-state and may attend school full-time or part-time.
Jim and Ann Nelson were long-time volunteers for CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, an organization that oversees care for children in state custody. CASA volunteers are tasked with speaking for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court. Through their volunteer work, the Nelson’s have seen first-hand the resources available to support children up until their 18th birthday, which is when they age-out of the foster care program. Because of this, the Nelsons wanted to help ensure a fair opportunity for children in foster care to have a successful transition into adulthood.