Strengthening Opportunities in Education
Among other important areas, Our House mentors work with youth to identify educational needs and goals. Through our collaborative partnerships, participants have avenues to connect to appropriate educational institution and vocational options. Many of our youth are coached in job development and job readiness skills, communication skills on the job and job referral/job placement.
One of the most strikingly problematic areas for foster alumni, however, comes during the first year of post-secondary education. Because federal government funding and Michigan foster alumni financial supports are oriented toward post-secondary education, there is an incentive for youth to enroll in community colleges or four-year universities. While this is a positive decision for many, one of the issues we see in our foster alumni is a high rate of dropout, coupled with student loan burdens. We are committed to helping foster alumni find the right fit for their interests and skill levels so that, together, we can increase the number of credit hours earned, increase the number of GED holders, or increase credentialing in a marketable area/skill.
Our House has recently partnered with Ann Arbor Public Schools and the University of Michigan Center for Educational Outreach to provide secondary programming and planning for our transitional aged foster youth.
Classes and services are held in a convenient, comfortable, non-threatening space in one of Our House's homes. Students can work on various education skills that meet their current needs, such working 1:1 with a highly certified instructor to learn to read or earning credits toward their high school diploma.
The program is grant funded under the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. The University of Michigan, Center of Educational Outreach provides additional support around post-secondary transitions and life choices after graduation.
MAKING LEARNING CONVENIENT AND ATTAINABLE
We're excited to have been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Roof Family Foundation to assist 2-3 Our House participants with their goal of furthering their education.
Don and Pat Roof, along with their 3 daughters, run a small family foundation that helps foster youth advance their post-high school education. Our House worked with Washtenaw Community College to determine a number of occupational/training courses and certificate programs (HVAC, dental assistant, sterile processing, welding, culinary arts, etc...) that would be eligible for funding and put youth on the path to a fulfilling career.
While many foster care youth are eligible for other sources of financial aid, not all are. Those who have additional educational supports may use the scholarship funds to assist with childcare, uniforms/tools, or other expenses that are barriers to success in the classroom.
Roof Family Foundation supports our house youth with Education Scholarships