Campus: CSU, Fullerton -- February 23, 2000

Stuart Foundation Gift Targets Expansion of Guardian Scholars

Cal State Fullerton's Guardian Scholars program received a $324,495 Stuart Foundation grant to establish a model that can be replicated at other universities.

The goal is to expand the program, now in its second year, which benefits promising youths who are exiting the foster care system and striving to earn a college degree. Believed to be the only one of its kind in California, the program currently serves 14 students.

Over the next three years, funding will be used to increase awareness of the program among regional social service agencies, independent group homes, high schools and other juvenile judicial offices. The agenda includes developing outreach materials aimed at emancipated youths, potential scholarship donors and social service agencies.

The Guardian Scholars program will be assessed and evaluated to ensure a successful model to produce optimum results for emancipated youths. Additionally, a symposium will be developed to bring together agencies and individuals seeking to collaborate on methods and programs that focus specifically on emancipated foster youths.

"We are very excited to have received such a generous grant from the Stuart Foundation," says Kevin T. Colaner, director of honors and scholars support services. "Their acknowledgement of the caliber of Guardian Scholars and their financial support will enable us to expand our program and, thereby, assist more deserving students. It is our hope that we will be able to increase the reach of Guardian Scholars beyond Cal State Fullerton and assist other institutions in replicating our successful program."

The San Francisco-based Stuart Foundation's overarching purpose is to help the children and youth of California and Washington become responsible citizens by helping strengthen the public systems and community supports-public school system, child welfare system, communities to support families-that contribute to children's development.

In addition to receiving financial assistance, Guardian Scholars are provided with on-campus housing and employment opportunities, counseling, peer and faculty mentoring programs, financial aid application assistance, health insurance coverage and enrollment in the university's Fullerton First Year program.

The Guardian Scholars program is expected to expand over time to comprise up to 50 students, each of whom would be eligible to receive support for up to five years while pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Program inquiries may be directed to Colaner at (714) 278-7444, or Janet Long, Guardian Scholars program coordinator, at (714) 278-7441.

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