Seizing the moment

Yami Sanchez gives to remove barriers for foster youth

Yami Sánchez had always planned to pursue higher education, but after being placed into the foster care system as a senior in high school, she began to doubt that she would even be able to receive her high school diploma. Although Yami decided she would go straight into the workforce following high school to support her brother’s education, she was informed that she had the opportunity to attend college by means of a state program.

When deciding where she would attend college, Yami knew K-State was the perfect fit. While visiting K-State during band camps in high school, she fell in love with the campus and all that K-State could offer her. From her tour guide answering all of her questions to the help she was offered through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, Yami felt assured that K-State was a place where she would be taken care of and supported. Now, Yami is in her second year at K-State studying biology and Spanish.

One of the main things that drew Yami to K-State was the opportunity for leadership. Throughout high school, Yami was involved in band, theater and the Hispanic American Leadership Organization. Through these organizations, she discovered how being an involved leader made a positive impact on those around her. When she arrived at K-State, she looked forward to making the same impact.

The perfect opportunity arose when, in the fall of 2020, Anne DeLuca, director of the Parents and Family Program, reached out to Yami about a group called Fostering Success. Fostering Success extends the mission of the Parents and Family Program: to unconditionally support Wildcats. Fostering Success began with an initiative that provided 14 former foster youth with gift cards for groceries, made possible by contributions to the Parents and Family Fund.

Inspired by the generosity of others to reduce barriers for former foster youth, Yami has decided to give back in her own way by becoming a leader within Fostering Success. Yami hopes Fostering Success can be a place for former foster youth to turn when facing the challenges that arise during college. Yami also wants to help point former foster youth to the many resources that are available to them, from free tutoring to Cats’ Cupboard.

“I was in a really dark place whenever I had to be removed from my home, and I didn’t know anything about my future,” said Yami. “I know how negative life can get for students, especially if they don’t have a network they can reach out to, or if they are behind on bills. We want to help students in any way, shape or form. It might be a $25 gift card for groceries, but to someone else, that might be a few days’ worth of food.”

In the future, Yami wants to become a bilingual doctor. In particular, she wants to help women and people of color within the hospital environment. She hopes that by helping those who are underserved, she can create a chain of paying it forward and encourage others to help those around them.

“My main goal in life is to be a philanthropist. I like the idea of being able to give back whatever I can in the moment. It makes me happy to help others succeed,” said Yami.

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Jeff Haug

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Brady Fritz

Brady Fritz Development Officer - Health and Human Sciences