Fostering Great Ideas
Celeste Prashad-Wright found stability through the Fostering Great Ideas Life Support mentor program.
From its inception, Fostering Great Ideas has focused on creating and sustaining the bonds that allow children in foster care to thrive. Founder David White started the organization with support from the Community Foundation, incubating ideas that would become programs to promote emotional well-being through relationships, the building blocks of resilience.
Latece Logan, the nonprofit’s first employee after White, has seen a number of those relationships flourish, both while she managed the Sib-Link program, which arranges for siblings placed in different foster homes to spend time together, and now as director of the Life Support mentor program.
“Mentors play a very strong role in a child’s life, providing a sense of stability and consistency,” Logan says. “Children in foster care may move often, but mentors stay with them, sometimes even after adoption, so they feel important, cared for, and like their voice matters.”
Celeste Prashad-Wright found that consistency with Chad and Pam Prashad, who tutored and mentored her while she was a teenager in foster care, living at Pendleton Place. The Prashads stayed with her through ups and downs—when she enrolled in Greenville Tech at 18, and when she dropped out because she was working two jobs and couldn’t stay awake in class. She moved out of the dorm, saved her money, had a child, then went back to GTC and was successful, thanks to a stronger support system.
Through it all, her bond with the Prashads grew, and at age 22, she joined their family through adoption. With their encouragement, she is working toward a bachelor’s degree in Business Management at Clemson, and expects to graduate in May 2021.
“My parents said, ‘You need a new challenge; you could go to a university.’ I felt like it was kind of a long shot, but they were right,” she said. “The first semester was a big transition, but my parents said,’you’re smart, you can adapt.’ Sometimes it takes people around you seeing things you don’t see about yourself. “
“For me, resilience is continuing to get back up, despite obstacles, trying to do better, not just to survive but to thrive,”
Celeste was one of the first graduates of Fostering Great Ideas’ College Fellows program, launched in 2017 with a grant from Greenville Women Giving, a special initiative of CFG. This innovative program encourages more children living in foster care to apply to college, and provides supports to help them stay in through graduation, giving them more opportunity for economic mobility.
Now married and raising her daughter, Kendall, 4, Prashad-Wright is also interning at Fostering Great Ideas, learning more about “the system” from outside in hopes of improving foster care for children currently living through it. She believes the best way to do that is by creating more permanent relationships so foster children feel understood and loved unconditionally, even when they make mistakes. She wants them to know that their situation doesn’t have to define them.
“For me, resilience is continuing to get back up, despite obstacles, trying to do better, not just to survive but to thrive,” she says. “I hope I can touch at least one person, make them feel like they can do it.”
Along with Logan, Prashad-Wright recently spoke as a panelist in a Black Lives Matter series, helping to educate others on ways to improve racial equality. She believes more can be accomplished if everyone approaches the conversation with a spirit of humility, gaining trust and generating solutions.
Logan advocates for more interaction between people of different groups, increasing diversity to remove the fear of the unknown. As they do for individual children, relationships can improve the resilience of a community.
“We are more alike than we realize; we can lower anxiety if we get to know one another,” she says. “At Fostering Great Ideas, relationships are our number one priority. When we work together, we can make positive change. Whenever there is unity, one goal, there’s a tremendous amount of power.”