Comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish has been candid about her experiences in foster care and now she’s on a mission to empower children who have faced similar circumstances. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles native is launching an internship program to align foster youth with opportunities in the entertainment industry.
The initiative—dubbed the She Ready Internship Program—is a collaborative effort being led by Haddish’s She Ready Foundation and the nonprofit Ready to Succeed. The organization provides youth with the resources and support needed to thrive academically and build a solid foundation to launch successful careers. Through the internship program, students between the ages of 18 and 25 who are interested in pursuing careers in media, arts and entertainment will be provided with paid internships and mentorship opportunities. The initiative is being sponsored by HBO, Kovert Creative, United Talent Agency and Artists First.
Haddish says her upbringing inspired the creation of the program. At the age of 12, she and her siblings were placed in foster care after her mother’s tragic car accident. Haddish hopes the program will not only serve as an outlet for youth but drive change surrounding the lack of diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry. “I believe that children that come from different cultures deserve a chance to work in the industry,” she said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “I would like people that look like me to be able to represent me too in the industry.” The internship program is slated to launch in 2021.
Programs like the one being led by Haddish are needed. Studies show that less than 10 percent of foster youth graduate from college and nearly 50 percent will be underemployed. This isn’t the only effort that Haddish has led to support youth in foster care. In July, she gave away laptops to children to address the digital divide amid the pandemic.