Park West Foundation sponsors graduation for Wayne County foster youth

Surrounded by fine art created by world-renowned artists, excitement and anticipation filled the air as Wayne County high school graduates from Park West Foundation’s Blue Babies program processed through Park West Gallery to the sound of bagpipes.

Bagpiper - PWF Graducation Park West GalleryApproximately 70 students from schools throughout Wayne County donned graduation caps in their schools’ colors at the June 20 ceremony, held at the Southfield, Mich. gallery headquarters. What these students have in common – all have received support and assistance from Park West Foundation while in the foster care system.

“We’re just very proud of them today, and just want to let them know that we’re here to continue supporting them and that we stand behind them,” said Sherri Stanley, program manager for the Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative.

Representatives from the Wayne County Department of Human Services and Michigan Education Trust as well as Park West Gallery CEO Albert Scaglione and wife Mitsie, were among the attendees, with many sharing encouraging words of support with the students.

A number of students received awards and special distinctions for academics and community service during the ceremony.

Christine Griffin, salutatorian of Detroit’s East English Village Preparatory Academy’s class of 2014,  was presented the $1,000 Officer Elaine Frinkley Award for Exceptional Service of Excellence to Community. The award is named after a recently deceased Detroit police officer.

Former Piston's coach Ray Scott, Park West CEO and founder Albert Scaglione, adn two Detroit police officers presented graduate Christine Griffin with the Elaine Frinkley scholarship.

Former Piston’s coach Ray Scott, Park West CEO and founder Albert Scaglione, and two Detroit police officers presented graduate Christine Griffin with the Elaine Frinkley scholarship.

In a speech to her classmates, Griffin described how she felt graduating with her peers in the Blue Babies program. “I actually was filled with joy, I wanted to cry. It was tears of joy though, because to see people like me and graduate with them, I felt part of a group, and even though I got recognized as above, I felt they were a part of me and I could relate to them.”

Several students were awarded full-ride scholarships to the postsecondary schools they had chosen to attend, including Malaysha White, who will attend the University of Michigan.

“I plan to major in computer science. I’d like to become a software engineer,” said White of her goals.

Michigan Education Trust and executive director Robin Lott are helping foster youth achieve the graduation milestone and reach their goals. “We created a charitable tuition program and we raise money to assist former foster care students to go to college,” said Lott.

Throughout her organization’s partnership with Park West Foundation, Lott said the Foundation has given students a sense of hope. “I think that Saba and the Gallery provide that tunnel of hope that everybody must have. Without hope what do you have to really strive for?

“Watching the youth graduate and go to the next stage of life is absolutely a wonderful experience,” said Tracy McCullough of the Wayne County Department of Human Services.

McCullough said the young people have access to a variety of college prep resources including financial aid, college navigation programs and college tours. “Within our program, we do everything from the foster care level, case planning, programs and education in Youth in Transition to build opportunities for youth to make them successful.”

Albert Scaglione addresses graduates at the ceremony and party June 20.

Albert Scaglione addresses graduates at the ceremony and party June 20.

The students were thankful for the support that Park West Foundation and the Blue Babies program had provided them. “They helped me a lot because I didn’t have anyone, so that was like my support system,” said Delanjane Amerson, a Westside Academy graduate who plans to study pharmacy.

“They gave me the support and encouragement I need to be successful in life,” said White.
Park West Foundation Park West Gallery 2

Park West Foundation was formed in 2006, by Park West Gallery founders Albert and Mitsie Scaglione. Its mission is to support organizations committed to strengthening positive values and leadership, and offering creative and lasting solutions for youth locally, nationally and globally. The foundation’s local priority is to address the urgent needs of youth aging out of foster care in Southeastern Michigan.

One Response to Park West Foundation sponsors graduation for Wayne County foster youth

  1. Loretta Sinal says:

    My husband ad I were foster parents when we lived in VA. We adopted our daughter after fostering her for 3 years. I am glad when I see programs like yours. I only wish there were more of them!

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest News

  • Park West Foundation Honors Foster Youth Graduates from the Class of 2018

    Last month, 87 very special students celebrated their graduation from high school at the Skyline Club in Southfield, Michigan.At first glance, you’d never notice any similarities between the students, but ...
    Read More
  • Patrick Guyton Tells His Fascinating Story on the ‘Behind the Artist’ Podcast

    Every artist has a story to tell, and Patrick Guyton is no exception.This remarkable talent started out as the son of a commercial sign painter and eventually became one ...
    Read More
  • 12 Quotes from Pino on His Remarkable Career as an Artist

    Pino is truly one of the modern masters of art.From his humble beginnings in Italy to his inevitable international fame, Pino built an artistic career defined by his unforgettable ...
    Read More
  • Test Your Knowledge of 14 Park West Artists With Our Quiz

    Do you think you’re an expert when it comes to Park West artists? Then put that knowledge to the test by naming the artists who created these works.Park West Gallery ...
    Read More
  • Collect One-of-a-Kind Pino Art During Our Summer Sale

    Pino is a timeless talent—his name synonymous with romance and emotion. His artistic journey began with his childhood in Italy and eventually led him to become one of the world’s ...
    Read More
  • Auctioneer Spotlight: Andre Herselman and Marisha Jansen van Rensburg

    Park West believes that art is for everyone, and there’s no one who embodies that belief more than our onboard art auctioneers and gallery teams. When our collectors board a ...
    Read More
  • See How the Art of Norman Rockwell Defined 20th-Century Americana

    
    Read More
  • Artist Michael Godard Reveals the Secrets Behind 7 New Paintings

    Artist Michael Godard loves creating whimsical artwork featuring his signature olives, but there is more to his paintings than meets the eye.For every animated olive and cocktail there is ...
    Read More
  • 2018 MI Great Artist Competition Begins August 1, Adds People’s Choice Award

    Since 2012, the MI Great Artist competition has highlighted some of the best visual artists in southeastern Michigan.The competition not only provides more than $16,000 in cash and prizes to ...
    Read More
  • Floating Works of Cruise Ship Art are Big Hits on Social Media

    People love posting vacation photos on Instagram and Twitter, but, thanks to a relatively new trend in the cruise industry, more and more people are posting pictures of themselves posing ...
    Read More
  • 7 Things You Might Not Know About Illuminated Manuscripts

    An illuminated manuscript is a beautifully crafted book, but it’s also so much more—it’s a literal piece of art history.Illuminated manuscripts are hand-crafted books with pages that feature elaborately decorated ...
    Read More
  • Park West Gallery Launches New ‘Behind the Artist’ Podcast for Art Lovers

    Behind every great artist, there’s an equally great story. Those stories are the inspiration for Behind the Artist, a fascinating new podcast series from Park West Gallery.Fans of podcasts like ...
    Read More