Local couple bolsters program for current and former foster children
Carmel Valley resident Lisa Corbosiero’s company Hi Tech Honeycomb is located down the street in Kearny Mesa from the Polinsky Children’s Center.
One day while at work, she saw a teenager running away from the emergency shelter and trying to hide himself in the company’s building.
Corbosiero, who has two sons, took it upon herself to approach the 13-year-old boy to find out why he was fleeing.
“I was able to talk him into going back to the Polinsky Center and we walked over there together,” she said. “It was a good feeling knowing that I could reassure him he was in a safe place and then being able to escort him back, and he was okay with that.”
That good feeling led Corbosiero and her husband Michael to get involved in Promises2Kids, a nonprofit that provides assistance, opportunities and guidance to more than 3,000 current and former foster children in this county. Information on the group can be viewed at promises2kids.org.
“Lisa opened my eyes to Promises2Kids,” said Michael Corbosiero during a recent interview with the couple at a Carmel Valley coffee shop.
Lisa, whose family is from Brazil, now serves as a director on the organization’s board while she continues to function as owner and operator of Hi Tech Honeycomb.
Offering a helping hand was a natural for Michael, a Boston native who relocated to the San Diego area in the early 1990s.
He said he had worked with at-risk youth while he was in college in Florida. After coming to San Diego, Lisa introduced him to Voices for Children, with whom she started volunteering about 20 years ago, and eventually Promises2Kids.
In Promises2Kids, Michael is participating in the Guardian Scholar program, in which volunteers serve as mentors to former foster children after they are no longer minors and leave their surrogate families.
“What happens is their 18th birthday comes around and they are basically out the door. There’s no more support for them,” said Corbosiero, who works in commercial real estate and as a part-time ski instructor.
Many of the ex-foster children become homeless and suffer from psychological issues, he said.
Through the guardian program, Michael is mentoring a 20-year-old SDSU student who is also caring for an infant and has a fiancée.
“He’s an unbelievable, well-spoken kid, a wonderful kid, but he has never had somebody to bounce ideas off of,” Corbosiero said. “He might think it’s a great idea, where I’m like (saying), ‘Let’s talk through this potential decision you’re about to make.’”
As an example, Corbosiero said, he talked the young man out of buying an expensive car with a high-interest loan and acquiring one that he can better afford under the circumstances.
“I’m passionate about this mentoring program,” he said. “We’re there to guide them through the decision-making process. We’re there as a resource to the kids who want help.”
In addition to working with youth, the Corbosieros earlier this year were the chairman and chairwoman for this year’s version of the annual Fore Kids Golf Tournament, which raises thousands of dollars to support Promises2Kids activities.
This year’s tournament was held Oct. 15 at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar’s golf course, where the Corbosieros are members.
While organizing the tournament and engaging in the other volunteer activities with Promises2Kids take time and energy, Lisa Corbosiero said the effort is rewarding for the good it accomplishes.
It also provides another example for their sons, Nicholas, who is in college, and Lucas, a high school senior. Throughout their childhood, Corbosiero said, she and Michael sought to involve them in charity, including working at an orphanage in Brazil and donating soccer equipment to it..
“I want to show them how fortunate we are,” she said. “In Carmel Valley, we live in a bubble. We’ve been able to provide opportunities for them to see that there is another world out there.
“There’s a lot of beautiful places out there, but there are lot of bad places, too. If we can open their eyes and get them to make a difference — that has always resonated with myself and Michael, too.”
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