Our National Foster Care Awareness Month blog series on teen males continues with George Fraser. George Fraser is a successful business man, renowned speaker, and author of three books. He is the founder of the annual PowerNetworking Conference, the largest gathering of Black professionals, business owners and community leaders.
George Fraser was born in Brooklyn New York into a family of 11 children. George and his siblings were placed in foster care after his mother became mentally ill. George was four years old at the time. His father was a cab driver and unable to care for the children alone.
George believes that most foster parents are good people who really want to help kids. He grew up in a foster home with a mother and a father that instilled basic foundational values including family and education. The couple loved and cared for him like he was their own. Today George is a huge proponent of education but admits that he was a mediocre student who was bored by traditional education. When I asked George what we can do to better support teen males, he responded “be sure they can read, comprehend what they read, and write well.” He believes that once youth are able to read and write on grade level they are able to think critically, then plan and move forward.
George loved to read as a child. Although described his love of reading as allowing him to escape his circumstances, George says he never felt any stigma or felt that negative labels were placed on him because he was in foster care. He spent 14 years in the New York foster care system. In addition to a strong family foundation and love of reading, George also credits his entrepreneurial nature in decreasing any negative impact of life as a foster child. At age 7, George had opened his first business – a lemonade stand. George says this initial success “made him”. “One success builds on another and you get excited”, he said. His next entrepreneurial endeavor was a babysitting service that hired males. George then operated a domestic cleaning business. He founded the widely successful FraserNet, Inc over twenty years ago.
“Generally speaking, the foster care system is a good system”, George told me during our interview. “At its core the foster care system is a safety net for children and families in crisis”, he continued. George believes that any system is better than no system at all. When the conversation shifted to how to parent, George said that food, clothing, shelter, and high school graduation are the minimum that foster parents should provide. He hopes that all foster parents will love the children that enter their homes, promote reading, help the child develop a love of learning, help put the child on the path to receive a quality education, and encourage the child to follow their dreams.
George encourages young people to move forward in endeavors that excite them. George hopes that youth, foster parents, educators, and foster care workers understand that teen males must learn a trade/vocation or go to college to be successful in this era. He stresses the importance of secondary education but also encourages interested young people to start businesses to gain experience and learn marketable skills. George is a master networker who understands the connections that are essential to success in every area of life.
George earned a vocational high school diploma in woodworking because educators did believe he could succeed in college. George left care at age 18 and returned to his biological father’s home. At age 22, George moved to Cleveland, Ohio with his older sister. George continued to follow his dreams and attended New York University. He received his executive training at the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. George has held leadership positions with Proctor & Gamble, the United Way, and Ford Motor Company. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree of Humane Letters from Jarvis Christian College. George has been married over thirty years and has two sons and a granddaughter.
Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
The Teen Toolbox provides youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic enrichment opportunities to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs.