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For Briana Drummer, who grew up in foster care, the path to Temple was a longer journey than it is for most. Now, Drummer, a junior psychology major, is using her own experience to help other young adults make the leap from foster care to college, just as she did. To support students like Drummer, Temple recently joined other local universities in a collaborative effort to enhance campus support programs for young adults coming to college from the foster care system. Cabrini University, Community College of Philadelphia, Temple and West Chester University are all joining forces in the partnership led by the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice and Research at the University of Pennsylvania. The ongoing collaboration includes more than 30 child-welfare agencies, independent-living and school-readiness programs, financial-aid agencies, and governmental and nonprofit organizations across Pennsylvania to help confront issues facing college students transitioning from foster care who are at risk of homelessness.
At Temple, the foster care to college program facilitates networking among former foster youth, provides a single point of contact (the Dean of Students Office) for resources and helps ensure uninterrupted housing during the academic year.
“Since its founding, Temple University has remained committed to broadening access to a high-quality education,” said Stephanie Ives, Temple’s associate vice president and dean of students. “We seek to further enhance that mission through more intentional outreach to help attract, enroll, retain and graduate former foster youth, supporting them along the way however we can.”
Before she came to Temple, Drummer earned her associate’s degree from the Community College of Philadelphia while serving as a peer coach for incoming students and as a student ambassador. She has also started her own company, Foster and Homeless Youth, to help young adults who transition out of foster care.
“I’m trying to make a whole foster care network system so that foster care kids can support each other,” Drummer said. “My goal is to help as many people as possible who might need some help or mentoring along the way.”
By Ben Palestino
4 October 2017