Foster Warriors is currently working with a partnership of veteran groups and foster agencies to develop a program that helps our military veterans and our foster kids work together in the pursuit of studies and careers in cybersecurity.
The ongoing critical shortage of cybersecurity skills and professionals has created tremendous opportunities for both groups, but not without challenges. Too many of our veterans lose their way, fall through the cracks, and miss out on the life-changing opportunities of the rewarding and fulfilling career cybersecurity can bring.
The nation’s nearly half a million foster kids could all benefit from the same opportunities, but they can’t do it without the right support. We believe that by partnering our veterans with our foster kids, we can make a difference:
- In foster kids, our veterans might see a purpose and a cause that keeps them motivated and focused.
- For veterans, a cybersecurity career is once again a chance to be a part of something bigger, to protect others, and to continue their mission to protect the nation. Helping to change and even save the lives of our most vulnerable kids makes that mission even more critical and personal.
- In our military veterans, we hope foster kids will find inspiration, role models, and even kindred spirits. And perhaps some of these kids will be motivated enough to choose a career in the military and find their own forever family.
- By creating a community of veterans, foster kids, and cybersecurity mentors, we can create the support system and virtual family that both groups desperately need.
Veterans and foster kids have so much in common, and for all the wrong reasons. PTSD and other mental illnesses are very common, as are homelessness, drug abuse, and suicide. We believe that many of these problems could be prevented or better managed by bringing both groups together in a common and important cause, and supporting them with a large team of teachers, mentors, cheerleaders, and advocates. A new family with a new mission.
Volunteer Mentors for our Online Forum
As we begin to roll out our new online cybersecurity academy, we’re also launching an online forum where we hope cybersecurity experts can help counsel, guide, and support our students, and all in a safe and moderated environment.
We’re looking for mentors who can help both veterans and foster kids as they take perhaps their first steps in this field. And while a background in cybersecurity and privacy would help, it’s not essential.
Most of our training and support is online, so most of our mentoring will be online too. As a mentor, you can devote as much or as little time as you choose, and by having dozens of mentors available to us we can share the load and keep volunteer time to a minimum.
If you’re interested, please email Neal O’Farrell, founder of Foster Warriors, at neal (at) fosterwarriors.org