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ISF Graduate / Thomas W.

Thomas Wise.fwHometown:  Colonial Heights, VA

Name of ISF Mentor: Robert Reisch

What school were you attending with the help of an ISF scholarship?  
John Tyler Community College

What was your Major? Graduation date? Future job plans?
Business Administration/Management.  Graduated in May, 2013.  Future plans include working while at the same time continue my education towards a bachelors degree in business part-time at Virginia Commonwealth University.

How did you first hear about ISF?
I first heard of the scholarship program through my foster mother.  I applied because I liked the program and was honored to be accepted.

What is the greatest benefit you have received from the ISF mentoring program?  The greatest benefit was having someone to help me keep on track.  I found the relationship helped me to keep chaos at a minimum and the result has been a lifelong connection.

Can you give a brief testimonial describing what ISF meant to you as you pursued your degree?  I knew ISF was always there; a call away or a facebook message away.  Without ISF and their support I am not sure I would have graduated.  I had lost my financial aid through the school because I changed majors and had taken too many classes.  My mentor advised me on the best route to take and ISF stepped in and provided a scholarship for the exact amount I needed to go to school.  I owe it to ISF for getting me through college.

Since Graduation:  As a recent graduate, Thomas is working for Pennington Seed as a lead merchandiser.

Personal story:  Thomas is an incredible young man with an incredible story! Having lived a life with little food, no clothing, and nowhere to live, he was separated from his 4 siblings and placed in foster care at the age of eleven. Thomas was placed with a foster family who beat and abused him. He ran away and lived the next two years in a homeless shelter. At the age of 13 he was returned to his biological mother (his father was incarcerated for a domestic violence charge) but quickly found himself on the streets when his family was evicted from their home. Eventually, he was separated from his biological mother and placed into a foster home once again. This home became permanent and is where Thomas lives today.  With the support of his current foster parents, Thomas realized that education was the number one priority.

In 2010, Thomas was President for the Technology Student Association and member of the Virginia Youth Advisory Council. He is a published author for Voices of Virginia Children and is consistently on the AB honor roll. In his spare time he babysits three children for a homeless mother.  His passion is to be a leader and a role model to other foster children and foster parents. Thomas has testified in the Virginia General Assembly for three separate bills: supporting sibling visitation, supporting biological visitation, and supporting a requirement to keep siblings together.