October 15, 2012/SVSU News
Saginaw Valley State University has received a multi-year grant from the State of Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services to aid former foster children who are currently enrolled at SVSU.
The $310,344 grant allows SVSU to provide support services over three years to eligible students who were part of the foster care system. The grant covers life skills training to former foster youth, such as teaching how to manage relationships, money and time, said Vanessa Brooks Herd, SVSU associate professor of social work and project manager of the Youth in Transition program.
"Foster kids are becoming legally independent with no family to provide social, financial or emotional support," Herd said. "This is going to provide a network of support to help them concentrate on their studies."
The grant also will support hiring a life skills coach and an assistant life skills coach to work with the foster students.
The staff will be required to be available on call after hours to help students who often have no one else to turn to, Herd said.
"If we have a college student who has an emergency, they're not able to call a family member," Herd said.
The program will recruit student volunteers to be mentors to the former foster students. These mentors will aid the students as they go through their academic career at SVSU. For information on how to become a volunteer, contact SVSU Career Services by calling 989-964-4954.
SVSU is one of six universities in Michigan to be awarded such a grant. For more information, contact Herd at 989-964-7254 or firstname.lastname@example.org.