The Tom Keating Foundation is committed to actively supporting and educating the at-risk youth population in the central MN area through scholarships, leadership training, and transitional housing.
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Tom Keating was Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year in 2004-2005. His 35 year teaching career in the Foley and Monticello school districts included classroom teaching, coaching, student assistance and administrative duties.
Tom was killed in a car accident on his way to school on January 12, 2006. At the time of his death he was teaching at Turning Point, an alternative school in the Monticello district that he co-founded. Tom’s passion was working with young people and his special passion was young people at risk. Therefore, Turning Point was a perfect fit for him.
Tom was also a much sought after speaker. He gave presentations on developing leadership skills to young people, coaches, teachers, and parents. He spoke in many schools around our country and even did some leadership training internationally.
College is expensive. A goal of The Tom Keating Foundation is to help offset these costs by providing scholarships to students who have demonstrated a propensity to overcome adversity in their lives.
It’s cliché but the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. It is the aim of the Tom Keating Foundation to unlock the full leadership potential of students by providing and/or funding leadership training opportunities.
Every student has a warm bed to sleep in at night, right? Sadly, no. The cold reality is that there are far too many students who do not have a place to live. They bounce from one friends couch to another or simply live in an environment that is too dysfunctional for them to succeed. The Tom Keating Foundation aspires to provide transitional housing for these students. The house will be a place that fosters individual growth, leadership, personal responsibility, and academic success.
Homeless kids? Sad, but true!
It is a disturbing fact that we have adolescents sleeping in cars or on friends couches. These kids can’t live at home with their families for one reason or another. It may be that the family is deeply dysfunctional, or deep into chemical use. Whatever the reason, many of our young people find themselves homeless.
Tom had a dream of providing transitional housing for these young people, a safe, nurturing place where they could stay for a short time while they get their life on track, a place that fosters individual growth, leadership, personal responsibility and academic success.
Unfortunately, Tom didn’t live long enough to see this dream realized. Therefore, the Tom Keating Foundation has been formed to fulfill this dream of his. It is the long range goal of the Foundation to be able to provide transitional housing for at-risk adolescents.
The foundation also awards college scholarships each year to graduating seniors from the Foley and Monticello school districts. These scholarships are awarded to students that have a history of overcoming adversity. These funds are intended to help offset the significant cost of higher education. It is the hope of the foundation that these scholarships will help launch the students into successful college careers.
Another one of Tom’s passions was developing leadership skills in young people. He presented at many workshops around the country and also internationally. It is another goal of the foundation to continue this leadership training by providing funding for students to attend leadership seminars.
Previous Scholarship Recipients
Born and raised in Detroit Michigan, I’ve had to deal with adversity at an early age. Not even nine months of my life had passed before I had to be emergency rushed to the hospital. The doctors and experts didn’t know what was astray but food did not want to settle in my stomach. I averaged one meal a day on four meal attempts a day. Projectile vomiting was the cause of this rare statistic. I was predicted to have only four months left to live.
As my fourth, fifth, and sixth birthdays went by, my fathers first, second, and third relapses went by. He had become addicted to cocaine and couldn’t get clean. As a child I was unaware, in denial, or just simply having too good of a time with my siblings to care. I didn’t notice that my father was out of the house until about three or four days after my mother kicked him out. That’s when everything went south. A young boy kidnapped by his father, sent into foster care, and headed down a path with no light in sight.
Two angels saved me, my grandparents, and I have never been more grateful about anything in my life. Without their help, love, and support I wouldn’t be the man I am today. These misfortunes that I have been burdened with could have destroyed me, but instead they made me a better person. Lessons were definitely learned from these experiences. The most important: even though life is good and nothing seems to be wrong, anything could happen. Stay prepared. This also includes understanding. Sometimes situations aren’t going to change, but that doesn’t mean give up. Look for the positives and move on.
Next fall I will be attending the University of Minnesota Duluth. Biology is my major of choice. My dreams and aspirations of becoming a doctor have created a backbone of hard work and goal setting throughout my high school years. I have learned to apply myself every way I can in order to achieve success. My athletics have also added to my work ethic. I received three athletic letters this year, was a senior captain in all three, and received an award for most inspirational player in basketball. I plan on continuing to work hard on whatever I set my mind on. The generous donation I have received from the Tom Keating Foundation under the Tom Keating Memorial Scholarship will not go to waste. I will put it forward and use it as the starting blocks into my furthered education.
In the end adversity is just one of the many roadblocks along the roads of success. You can slow down when you see it coming, you can stop when its there, or you can overcome it.
I choose to overcome.
My name is Taylor Fosse, I am 18 years old and attended Turning Point ALP in Monticello, MN. I currently live with my mom and my 13 year old sister, Taytum, in Monticello. I have lived in Monticello since 1996 and attended Monticello Public Schools K-12. Some of my interests include spending time outdoors (especially during summertime), going to tractor pulls/threshing shows, swimming at the lake, and just simply spending time with the people I care about. I am enrolled at Bemidji State University, looking to major in social work. I want to help teenagers, similar to myself, in overcoming adversity.
My own story overcoming adversity has been a struggle for members of my immediate and extended family for generations- alcohol/drug addiction. When I had come to the understanding and acceptance that I could no longer take life on by myself, in the beginning of January, I got myself involved in outpatient treatment at the Central Minnesota Mental Health Center. I have now been sober for about six months and everyday, I get a little bit stronger.
This scholarship is a huge help to me in the sense that it will help me get to where I am going in life. My career goal is to work as chemical dependency counselor myself. I feel the best people in the business are those who can make that personal connection themselves. I want to be that person who will do anything to help others if they will make that 110% commitment.
Not only do I thank the Tom Keating Foundation for helping me fund this journey I am on, but I also give thanks to the staff at Turning Point: Jody Kramer, Sarah Frost, Amy Luxa, David Reeves, and Sandy Gilbert. As well as the retired staff, Book and Lynn. I also thank my CD counselor Danielle Iano and my therapist Duane Hackbarth. Every one of these people have been a major support, and have influenced where I am today.
“When you become comfortable with who you are- pay it forward.” -Tracy Fosse
Share Your Gifts
We all have God given gifts or talents. It is our responsibility to discover what those gifts are and then share them with the people around us. Gifts you have can range from a smile for someone to presenting to large numbers of people, helping a friend or neighbor with a task…
What does the Tom Keating Foundation mean by Share Your Gifts? That’s up to you! It may mean playing checkers with residents at a nursing home, helping your neighbor build a deck, or volunteering at a soup kitchen. The bottom line is, you have a skill – a gift. It is your personal responsibility to find those gifts and share them, inspire others to share theirs, and lead by example.
To make a financial donation to the Foundation send a check payable to The Tom Keating Fund to:
Tom Keating Fund
PO Box 591
Foley, MN 56329