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Congrats to Arieana Colbert

Congratulations to 2019 Akerman Scholarship Winner Arieana Colbert

National CASA/GAL is pleased to announce this year’s Akerman Scholarship winner is Arieana Colbert, a former foster youth associated with the CASA of East Central Illinois program in Charleston, IL.

Arieana accepted her award and spoke during the Awards of Excellence ceremony at the annual conference in Atlanta (her speech starts around the 59-minute mark). She also served on the discussion panel following the screening of the Broken Places documentary. She attended the conference with Asha Dixon, who has been her CASA advocate for the past four years.

Arieana Pictured with Her CASA Volunteer, Asha Dixon


The scholarship is part of Akerman LLP’s $1 million pledge to National CASA/GAL that included creating an endowment fund to help young adults who have spent time in foster care pursue a post-secondary education through an accredited institution of higher learning such as a university, career college, or technical school. The scholars receive $2,500 a year while they work toward receiving their degree.

Arieana will join the student population at the University of Illinois this fall and is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. She first entered the foster care system at age 6 and experienced 19 placements over 11 years before exiting the system. Her positivity and motivation to achieve meaningful change in her life were factors noted by the scholarship selection committee.

To date, the scholarship has been awarded to four incredible young people, all sharing a passion for helping the next generation. The scholarship committee is dedicated to removing barriers to success for these youth and scholarship funds have been used to pay rent, buy books, or pay tuition. The next scholarship application cycle will occur in February 2020.

We would like to thank Asha, CASA of East Central Illinois, and Illinois CASA for their strong support of Arieana and other children and youth in their state.

Congratulations to Arieana and all best wishes as she begins her college career!

  • National CASA
    National CASA
  • Illinois DCFS
    Illinois DCFS
  • The Office of Illinois Courts
    The Office of Illinois Courts
  • Illinois Attorney General
    Illinois Attorney General