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Guardian Scholars Program for Former Foster Youth

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Guardian Scholars Program


NEED: Assisting former foster youth with living and college expenses - making college a reality

Every year in California, an estimated 4,000 foster youth transition from dependents of the foster care system into emancipated adulthood at age eighteen. These former foster youth (FFY), generally grow up in numerous homes with few life skills or tangible items to call their own.

  • 65% emancipate without a place to live.
  • Less than 3% go to college.
  • 51% are unemployed.
  • Many of these youth lack life skills.
  • Government loans do not cover college expenses during the freshman year.

Annually at Sierra College, 75 – 125 FFY pursue their dreams of higher education:

  • Most arrive on campus with their worldly possessions in a black trash bag.
  • Many without a place to live.
  • And even if they are provided housing, they do not have bedding, towels, hygiene items, food, school supplies, and other necessary items.
  • They face a minimum of $2,000 per year for books, parking permit, and school supplies, etc.
  • Their cost of living exceeds $4,000 per semester.

OPPORTUNITY: Establish a fund to help FFY pursue their college education.

Our goal at Sierra College is to help these youth overcome barriers to success, realize that college is an option, and turn their dreams into reality by offering:

  • Scholarships
  • Housing stipend
  • Book and food vouchers
  • Room bedding and furnishings
  • Care-Packs filled with basic hygiene and school supplies
  • Laptops, flash drives, calculator, and other equipment

RESPONSE: Raise $1,000,000 for an endowment to support this program.

Offering support to FFY decreases their stress level and creates a sense of belonging. It has proven to increase their retention rate; since the inception of this program, the retention rate has increased from 40% to 81% from the fall to spring semester. Their grades also improve because they are able to concentrate on their studies. And perhaps most importantly: it lets the students know that someone believes in them and cares enough to invest in their success!

“Thank you for your help! I have been worried and wondered how I would ever make it through College without any help. Now with your generosity and the kindness of your heart, my dream of going to College is a reality,” said Rachel, a former foster youth attending Sierra College.

With your gift, a student learns. Through your support, a graduate takes the next step. From your generosity, a dream is attained.

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