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Beaufort startup launches scholarship for students in foster care

Beaufort-based startup Vireo Labs announced last week a pair of $1,000 scholarships to help foster youth around the nation research and finance their postsecondary education.

The scholarships are available to any foster youth enrolled in their senior year of high school in the U.S. The C’reer iFoster Scholarship will be administered by the nonprofit iFoster and awarded to a college-bound student based on an essay submission.

The scholarships can be applied to tuition, room and board or other college-related fees or for the purchase of education technology.

“iFoster has been helping foster families and youth access technology resources for education and training programs in job placement for many years with tremendous impact,” said Jose Mallabo, co-founder and CEO of Vireo Labs.

“We share a similar objective to provide students with resources to discover career paths and education choices that may otherwise have gone overlooked.”

The scholarship is named after Vireo Labs’ recently released free mobile app C’reer, which matches students with careers and connects them with college representatives via chat. Scholarship applicants will be asked to write an essay about the career field suggested by the C’reer app.

C’reer is available for free in the App Store for iOS devices or in Google Play for Android devices.

The application deadline is Sept. 30. Recipients will be notified by October 27. Full requirements and the application will be announced by iFoster within the next few weeks.

“Achieving a college degree can be a significant challenge for many youth in foster care,” said Serita Cox, executive director of iFoster. “More than 46 percent of foster youth report not getting enough assistance with college planning.

“Having access to academic tools like C’reer, as well as the financial support of a scholarship, can make a tremendous difference in the lives of our youth.”

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