Jessie Peterson: “I know I can do amazing things.”

Picture of Jessie Peterson and link to her story

Jessie Peterson had a rough childhood. She was placed in foster care when she was two weeks old and bounced around the system for most of her young life.

“It’s a tough story to tell. When I aged out of foster care, I was pretty much homeless,” said Jessie, who pursued a degree in sociology at SF State thanks to the Guardian Scholars Program, which supports the educational aspirations of former foster kids.

The program’s director, Xochitl Sanchez-Zarama, says “Jessie took pride in being a role model for other foster youth to pursue higher education.”

Jessie’s involvement in the program led to internships with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, the advocacy organization California Youth Connection, and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit that advocates for orphaned and foster youth.

“I would not have had these opportunities without Guardian Scholars,” said Jessie, who minored in criminal justice studies. “I want to work for foster youth and change the system for the better. With this opportunity and people who believed in me, I know I can do amazing things.”