Along with REI and the Goldhirsh Foundation we’ve been delighted to support The Case Foundation’s Finding Fearless competition. The competition has discovered twenty fearless changemakers, with the overall winners being announced on December 5th.
In addition to supporting the Finding Fearless competition, we wanted to showcase a young person who is doing incredible work to make a difference. Partnering with The Case Foundation we created a special Microsoft YouthSpark prize, designed to recognize a young fearless changemaker.
That YouthSpark prize winning changemaker is Marquis Landon Cabrera.
Marquis was in foster care until he was adopted at 15 years of age. Following his dreams and with support from his parents, he attended Northeastern University, where he graduated magna *** laude, receiving numerous awards and recognition for his hard work and leadership along the way. While at Northeastern, he gained experience working with City Year, The White House, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and took a juvenile law course where was required to sit on cases at the Boston Juvenile Court.
After witnessing heart-wrenching care and protection cases, and drawing from his own experiences in foster care, Marquis decided to found Foster Skills with the mission of empowering foster children to beat the odds, follow their dreams, and become successful, productive citizens.
Foster Skills aims to address the incredible challenges facing foster children. Today less than 10% of foster kids graduate from high school and less than 2% graduate from college.
Since its founding, Foster Skills has connected with over 150 foster youth to provide social support systems; performed 68 ‘How To’ workshops; and created a Massachusetts-specific Foster Youth Handbook that has been used by over a thousand foster youth. Along with direct support Foster Skills also advocates on behalf of foster youth and is currently developing a social networking site for foster children.
Marquis has indeed been a fearless changemaker and we’re proud to present him with the special YouthSpark prize to recognize his amazing work.