While growing up in foster care, going to college seemed a long shot for Zachary Logan. 尽管成绩很高, 荣誉和AP课程, 生活充满了复杂的挑战, including transferring schools and becoming homeless his senior year of high school. He completed his college admissions essay, but didn’t have the money to pay the application fee. He found a lifeline when a benefactor at the youth shelter where he was staying paid it for him.
Logan benefited from a safety net at Montclair for students who grew up in foster care, and other undergraduates experiencing homelessness or who lack adult guidance – assistance that continues to expand through the generosity of donors and 大学 support under the 红鹰伙伴 program.
该项目帮助了200多名学生, with an exceptional track record of improving educational outcomes for this vulnerable group. 他们的平均绩点是3.去年五月零日, 84%的红鹰奖学金毕业生毕业了, with the rest staying in school to finish the degrees they started, 学生支持服务案例经理阿里安·克雷格说, 红鹰研究员项目协调员.
“These students face the same obstacles as first generation and low-income students, students who come from disadvantaged areas and underfunded school districts, 但最重要的是, 他们还有其他可能不那么明显的障碍,克雷格说。, who joined Montclair a year ago after working for the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. 包括创伤, 不稳定, 物质使用, 父母一方死亡, 或者缺乏资金, 社会和情感支持通常由家庭提供.
“It’s a bunch of layers and in each student we have to peel it back to see what’s going on,克雷格说。.
With research showing that providing emotional and financial support increases chances for success for foster youth, 无家可归和独立学生, Montclair responded a decade ago by bringing together resources in residence life, counseling and tutoring to create a program that supports them. 最初命名 红鹰皇室, 该项目在五年前更名为红鹰研究员, 员工致力于建设社区.
“We try to make sure they feel they belong and are supported,克雷格说。.
A host of holistic services including scholarship support and individual academic, life skills and personal counseling help students overcome hurdles. They bond regularly with each other at social and career events, and are able to stay in the residence halls over summer break if they need a place to live.
“You never feel uncomfortable asking for help because you know everyone’s always going to say ‘Yes,’”蒂莎·弗林说, 法学专业的大三学生, Law and Society and an independent student who was raised by an aunt after her mother passed away.
Eligible students include full-time undergraduates under the age of 24, 被认定为独立学生, foster youth or homeless by the Financial Aid office and who qualify for the need-based Pell grants that expand college access.
Craig has been looking into the barriers these students encounter to determine how to cater services to better assist them. “这非常复杂. 因为他们不得不依靠自己, 它们是自给自足的, and then at the same time there might be pieces that are missing,她说。.
Arnaesia布朗, 护理专业的大二学生, reached out for help as she juggled jobs and took out loans to come to Montclair. Her mother died of COVID-19 her senior year of high school and her father is retired. 为了维持生计，她每天只吃一顿饭. “Sometimes I wouldn’t eat at all or I’d get something small from the vending machine because it was cheap,她说。.
红鹰伙伴 helped Brown change her dependency status for financial aid and addressed her food insecurity. 去年夏天, she took classes and lived on campus as part of the S.T.E.P.S. 暑期住宿计划 减轻她沉重的护理课程负担.
S.T.EP.S. ——通过授权获得成功的首字母缩写, 毅力, and Stewardship – is designed to build independent living skills. Students attend workshops and receive coaching on financial management, 毕业后的住房, 预算和如何确保一套公寓.
布朗感谢她得到的帮助. “我必须继续努力. There are people who I care about who care about me and who are rooting for me to succeed,她说。.
洛根说他得到的支持, everything from a place to live and work on campus within his major of Information Technology to academic approval to take extra classes, 让他能早点毕业，减少学生债务. “我非常坚定，”他说.
搬到特拉华州后, Logan earned a master’s degree in Cybersecurity from the 大学 of Delaware and now works in IT. 去年夏天, he rode his bike 60 miles a day for a week in the Anchor House Ride for Runaways, 为处于危机中的青少年筹集资金, in gratitude to the shelter that he credits with helping him on the path to college, 学位和职业.
在每一次奋斗的心中,洛根说, 就是战胜的力量, 适应的智慧, 还有继续前进的勇气, for it is through these times that we become more than we ever imagined.”