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Ohio University

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Campus support of foster care youth

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Ohio University

  1. 1. Jacob Okumu, PhD Program Director OHIO Reach Scholars Program Ohio University, Athens
  2. 2. OHIO Reach Scholars Program  The OHIO Reach Scholars Program is a resource at OHIO dedicated to advocating for and supporting college age former foster youth as well as those disconnected from their biological families  This program is overseen by the Office for Multicultural Student Access & Retention (OMSAR) and includes a number of specialized support systems designed to meet the unique needs of former foster care students at Ohio University 2015
  3. 3. Program Components  LINKS, OHIO pre-matriculation program  Year long cohort psychosocial, academic, service-learning and leadership development seminars  Progress advisors/mentors meet students bi-weekly to help students design and implement tailored individualized 4 year plan for personal growth, academic success, leadership and professional development.  Weekly study sessions and socials  Financial aid and health care literacy to provide students with access to scholarships and health care services 2015
  4. 4. Program Components  Local & international service-learning – study abroad  Alternative social-programming for family-themed weekends  Engagement in research and professional development opportunities
  5. 5. Thanksgiving 2015
  6. 6. Parents Weekend
  7. 7. SUCCESSES  OU Undergraduate application form  Alternative family-themed social programming  Thanksgiving with SE Ohio high school foster youth  Community partnerships (Action Ohio, etc)  Sense of connectedness to a family  OU development office beginning a fundraising effort for an endowment fund  Alternative housing during breaks & alternative academic assignments  Study abroad – Service Learning in Jamaica/Ethiopia  Leadership development (shadowing, Capitol Hill)
  8. 8. Service learning in Jamaica • December Break • Spring Break
  9. 9. CHALLENGES  Medical & financial literacy  OU Scholarships (300/150/10) – endowment fund  Psychosocial – what to do when biological parents initiate contacts through program director  Sometimes I do not know what I am doing (negotiating a lease, taking a scholar shopping or discussing a need to have an hair cut in a different less expensive location!)  Some scholars may not come back next semester due to tuition balances. What to do?
  10. 10. Proposed Way forward at OU 1. Provide a one-stop comprehensive medical assessment of all OU scholars from foster care during orientation 2. Endowment fund for tuition scholarship 3. Design and implement an integrated support and service systems across campus for youth aging out of care and enrolling in our college campus from pre- matriculation through graduation 4. Generate awareness among faculty and staff regarding the needs of former foster care students
  11. 11. Proposed Way forward at OU 5. Organize comprehensive cross-systems training for independent living coordinators, school counselors, health care professionals, faculty, staff, etc to ensure information sharing, collaboration and communication 6. Infuse data collection, tracking and evaluation of needs and services of youth from care in college campus environments 7. Reach out to the branch campuses
  12. 12. THANK YOU Jacob O. Okumu, PhD Coordinator for Student Outreach & Developmental Services Office for Multicultural Student Access & Retention Ohio University, Athens Email: okumu@ohio.edu Tel: 740 593 9376

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