Nearly 250 hundred teenagers living in the state's foster care system convened on USM's campus Friday for the annual Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth program. Designed to help acclimate children soon to be leaving the foster care system, the program helped open doors of opportunity to it's participants and even featured a celebrity's cousin.
"We all have come short. We all have made some mistakes in our life, but that's no excuse for us not to excel," said Division Director, Barry Dixon. Achieving despite your circumstances was the wholesome message of the state wide Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth Program. The program is designed to help youth who will soon be exiting the foster care system lead productive and happy lives. Keynote speaker, and cousin of Actor Bill Cosby, Merissa Davis, brought that message of hope through the re-telling of the state's Civil Rights history.
"They are responsible for their destiny. In the age of Obama, we can't blame white folks for everything anymore," said Davis. Straight from the heart of her famous cousin, she says Cosby would like to push for better education in the foster care system.
"He has always pushed education so I am just continuing his message," said Davis. She says perseverance is the stronghold that will help the foster care children succeed once they've left the system behind.
"They need to get their education and persevere. Perseverance is the main thing," said Davis.