New study area opens for foster youth

Intructor/Tutor Marcos Osorio grades student's papers from behind a plastic shield at Mathnasium of Canyon Country in Santa Clarita on Wednesday, August 19, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Foster youth in the SCV now have access to an area dedicated to studying while schools continue with distance-learning.

The Foster Youth Independence organization has opened an area called “The Study Place,” where foster youth within the organization can receive tutoring, access to the internet for online learning and a meal through June 2021.

“The need for a dedicated study area became more critical when all of our youth were forced to transition to online learning,” Carolyn Olsen, executive director for FYI, wrote in a news release. “Most foster youth do not have a suitable place to study at home, and other locations at COC, local libraries and even Starbucks became unavailable.”

FYI partnered with Christ Lutheran Church in Valencia to open the fellowship center at the church site as The Study Place, and received a grant from the city of Santa Clarita that allowed the hiring of educational specialists, the purchase of two laptops and lunch.

A family foundation, who wished to remain anonymous, donated additional funds that paid the cost of items not covered through the city grant.

“The need became personal when one of our youth dropped all of his spring classes at COC due to the transition to online instruction,” Olsen said in the release. “Living in a small apartment with four other people, he had nowhere to sit, connect to his online classes, and focus on learning.”

The inspiration to create The Study Place came from Castaic resident Madison Marks, who created a study night for foster youth as part of her Girl Scouts Gold Award project in 2019.

“After seeing the impact a dedicated learning space made for one student, we were compelled to find a way to offer this to all of FYI’s students,” Olsen said in the release.

The Study Place is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

To volunteer as a tutor or homework assistant, contact Anna Novaes at [email protected]. For more information on The Study Place, visit

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