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Helping Foster Youth Take Flight


From Dateline (August 19, 2004)

Q: What do you see for the future of our program?

I see us graduating more students. Every year our num-bers keep getting better. In the next year, my goal is to promote Guardian Scholars university-wide so that there’s more awareness among faculty and staff. Strengthening our staff, training our alumni to come back and mentor our students. I’d also like to strengthen the retention rate of incoming freshman.


Q: What do you think is the greatest challenge for the program?

Staffing – being there for the students when I have these other competing priorities. Trying to stay positive in a negative fiscal time, fund raising, grant development so that we can graduate them in five years – that’s the commitment we make. We want to be able to provide research-oriented, numerically sound success rate statistics. Without that kind of proven success you’re just a feel-good program. I want to say that we’re making a difference.


Q: And the greatest challenge for the students?

I think it’s the transitions. For our incoming students, they are hit with a reality check like you cannot believe. Never in their lives have they had this much freedom. In an institutional setting they’ve been told when to wake up, when to go to the bathroom, when to eat. Things have been done for them and for many, it’s the first time they’re making their own choices and learning from their own mistakes.

For students graduating from college it is like another emancipation process: “I have to move, I have to be able to be self- supporting, get a job, lose all my friends, lose all my support.” That is dramatic for some students. In the year before graduation, we see a great deal of anxiety and fear. Much of that is not knowing what’s going to happen. That’s why I talk about the importance of the Guardian Scholars who have made it, to come back and tell current scholars that it’s going to be okay – how great it is to feel like you’re no longer burdened by being labeled a foster youth.



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Q&A with Mohr

• Jenny Mohr

• How are post-emancipated youths different from other youths?

• Why is Guardian Scholars so important?

• What are some of the services/activities the program provides?

• Isn't there a legislative bill that requires all colleges and universities to have a program such as this?

What do you think the influence of Guardian Scholars has been?

• What do you see for the future of our program?

• What do you think is the greatest challenge for the program?

• And the greatest challenge for the students?


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