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Innovators | Education

Building a better life for foster children

Marquis Cabrera, Foster Skills

Marquis Cabrera, founder and chairman of Foster Skills.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

The deck is stacked against children in foster care. No one knows that better than Marquis Cabrera, a former foster kid who beat the odds to graduate college. Now he’s trying to help other foster children achieve life success through his nonprofit social enterprise, Foster Skills.

Cabrera moved from a rough Harlem housing project to his adoptive mom’s idyllic two-story house on a cul-de-sac, but he couldn’t escape the disconnect he felt after going through the foster care system. “There are many resources and programs for foster children, but they are fragmented and often leave kids feeling powerless,” said Cabrera, 24, who believes the key to unlocking the potential of foster children is to provide practical life skills and emotional stability.

The Northeastern University graduate deferred admission to law school to get Foster Skills up and running. In two years, the Boston organization has provided social support systems to hundreds of children in foster care. “Marquis is truly a superhero for his work in building and supporting families, and inspiring other young people to be change-makers as well,” said Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson, a supporter of Cabrera’s efforts.