Our Mission & Video

Our Mission & Video

Our Mission

To provide strategic education and enrichment opportunities that enable foster children to reach their full potential.

Fostering Success (previously known as Friends of Foster Children Forever) was established in 1999 by Cathy and Stan Appelbaum and Lynn and Les Schultzel.

The first year, the organization was staffed by one part-time director and a few dedicated volunteers. They helped dozens of children by providing clothing, bicycles and toys.  Today, we have 7 full-time employees, 50 academic mentors, and over 125 volunteers.

Historical Timeline

  • 1999 – Friends of Foster Children was established
  • 2006 – Education Train program was created (tutoring service)
  • 2013 – Education Train changes to Academic Mentoring
    • 2014 – Fostering Transitions program launches for children with closed cases for 18 months after closure.
    • 2014? – started serving Hendry/Glades
  • 2016 – Friends of Foster Children partners with Florida Gulf Coast University
  • 2017 – Ready for Kindergarten begins.
  • 2019 – Services are expanded from helping children from birth to 18 to birth to 23 years of age.
  • 2020 – Scholarship program launched.
  • 2020 – Remote tutoring begins expanding services to children outside southwest Florida.
  • 2022 – Thriving After Care, independent living program is created.
  • 2023 – Friends of Foster Children Forever becomes Fostering Success.
  • 2024 – Fostering Success celebrates 25 years of service

What Do We Do?

Children enter the foster care system because they have been abused and/or neglected by their parents who are often struggling with addiction. Their lack of care is witnessed and reported to the police resulting in the Department of Children and Families investigating the situation. At that point, Camelot Community Care looks for placement for the child. Placement may be with a relative, a nonrelative (neighbor, teacher, et al.), in a foster home, shelter, or group home. Abuse, neglect, and addiction do not discriminate, so foster children are from all geographic and ethnic backgrounds. Being torn from their home is a life-changing experience that creates confusion and sadness in these children’s lives in addition to educational and social difficulties.

For almost 25 years, Fostering Success (formerly Friends of Foster Children Forever) has made it our mission to focus on the children we serve with educational and enrichment opportunities that enable them to fulfill their potential. Fostering Success is privately funded and does not receive federal funding. In recent years, Fostering Success has grown in size and scope and has become a leading force in providing for the educational and social needs of foster children—annually serving over 750 children and fulfilling 2,300 requests.

Our programs are separated into two pillars: education and enrichment.

Ready for Kindergarten helps connect foster children with quality early learning centers (ages 0-5); Academic Mentoring provides free tutoring to students (ages 5-23) with open and closed dependency court cases; and Scholarships are given to high school seniors who are or were in the foster care system. Up to four $2,500 scholarships are extended annually for students to attend any college or technical school they want in the country.

Project Enrichment provides basic necessities such as diapers, cribs, beds, clothing, school supplies and uniforms. This program pays for foster children to attend summer camps, afterschool programs, sports, music, arts, theater, and dance. Through these activities they can get back to being a kid, have fun while learning a new skill and make friends. Thriving After Care is for young adults (ages 18-23) who are transitioning out of the foster care system and provides them with the life skills necessary to succeed. Classes include cooking; financial literacy; resume building and applying for a job; finding housing; advanced schooling, etc.

Our Video