Nonprofit aims to help Central Texas foster kids succeed in school

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — When Andrea Brauer was looking a tutor for her foster daughter, she realized there was a need.

“The consistency in the life of a foster child is extremely important, they’ve had so many adults let them down,” said Andrea Brauer, the founder and board president of Learning Bridge.

She was looking for an organization that would address the educational needs of kids in foster care.

“A lot of kids in foster care can be one to two years behind in school for many many reasons,” Brauer said. “These kids have been abused and neglected, they’re dealing with trauma, they’ve been moved to schools multiple times, they’ve moved to different caregivers multiple times so that impacts their schoolwork, their focus.”

That’s when she decided to create Learning Bridge. A nonprofit that started as a program last year with the goal to match volunteer tutors with foster kids like Jaden.

“I had issues with my writing because the teacher would ask me what this word and I wouldn’t get it,” Jaden explained.

For the past year, Jaden has had a tutor, and his papa has noticed a difference.

“It was a lot of behavior issues at school, we were constantly talking to his teachers and coming up with different strategies to help him out and now he’s volunteering to help in school, and he loves it. It’s so cool to see the difference,” Marques Bland said.

Today, Jaden is taking his new skills and writing his own story through comic books and reading books like Tristan Strong.

Learning Bridge reports the majority of the students they tutor are students of color and are in need of Spanish-speaking volunteers.

(Source: Learning Bridge)

Data shows only around half of youth in foster care graduate from high school and fewer than 5% in the state have a college degree. It’s a statistic Jaden does not plan to be counted in.

“I want to become a marine biologist,” he said.

At present, the nonprofit needs help developing its staff and are always accepting volunteers to help kids from Travis, Hays and Williamson counties. They currently tutor 24 foster kids. If you are interested in helping, you can contact the nonprofit online, email Andrea Brauer at info@learningbridgetx.org or call her at (512) 565-4480.

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