CSU-Pueblo/PCC announce Foster a Dream Project on TRiO Day February 25.
PUEBLO – An essential needs drive for unaccompanied/homeless youth in the Pueblo community will be the focus of a National TRiO Day on Feb. 25 by six local businesses along with organizations at Colorado State University-Pueblo and Pueblo Community College (PCC).
According to Ismana Carney, director of CSU-Pueblo’s Upward Bound program, youth and adults who have foster care or homelessness in their background often have no way of breaking free from the cycle of poverty. TRiO’s FOSTER A DREAM goal for National TRiO Day is to bring to the forefront issues affecting these communities and provide them information and access to postsecondary education and workforce readiness support services that are available at CSU-Pueblo and PCC.
CSU-Pueblo and PCC TRiO programs have partnered with Cooperative Care, CASA, Posada and Department of Social Services Foster Youth Program to conduct this drive through Feb. 24. Distribution of the items to partners will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Washington Children’s Center (on the corner of Prairie and Thatcher in Pueblo). A luncheon including a Shining Star Awards program will follow for all individuals involved in the drive. Pueblo City Councilman Leroy Garcia will read a proclamation declaring Saturday, Feb. 25, as TRiO Day.
The organizations are seeking the following items which can be dropped off at locations across the two campuses: toiletries, gloves, make-up, scarves, combs, hats, brushes, socks, clothing, sleeping bags, backpacks, notebooks, pens, water bottles, water, dry goods, granola or nutrition bars, bus tokens/passes, gift certificates for taxis, and suitcases.
According to Veronica Chavez, assistant director of TRiO Educational Opportunity Center, new regulations have made it mandatory that TRiO projects provide outreach and services to students who are homeless, children and youths, students who are in foster care or aging out of foster care, and otherwise "disconnected."
“The good news is that Free Application for Federal Student Aid’s (FAFSA) definition of an “independent student” makes it much easier for students without the support of their birth families to get the help they need to secure financial aid and pursue a postsecondary education,” Chavez said,
Last fall, CSU-Pueblo received 106 financial aid applications from students who indicated they either were emancipated, in a legal guardianship, homeless, or previously in the foster care system. Nearly 50 of those students enrolled and attended in the fall semester. Statewide, more than 3,100 students indicated an unaccompanied status on the FAFSA.
Posada’s youth outreach program makes contact with more than 200 youth through the year and seeks to provide comprehensive case management to half of them. According to 2011 records, Pueblo City Schools appears to have the highest rate of homelessness of any school district in the State of Colorado. For additional information on the local homeless program, visit http://posadapueblo.org/pueblos_homeless_population.htm
“We hope through National TRiO Day to help bring issues affecting these youth to the forefront and to improve their ability to access postsecondary education and benefit from the support services that are available but are often unknown to them,” Carney said.
In addition to Carney and Chavez, the remainder of the planning committee for the event includes: Brenda Trujillo, director, CSU-Pueblo TRiO Student Support Services; Lisa Aragon, academic advisor, PCC TRiO Student Support Services; Louise Anaya, administrative assistant, TRiO Educational Opportunity Center; and Michele Collier, program coordinator, CSUP Upward Bound.
In 1965, Congress established a series of programs to support low-income Americans to enter college, graduate and move on to participate more fully in America's economic and social life by helping them overcome class, social, economic and cultural barriers to higher education. TRiO programs at PCC and CSU-Pueblo include Student Support Services, Upward Bound, Veterans Upward Bound, and the Educational Opportunity Center.
In 1986, Congress declared the last Saturday in February as National TRiO Day to increase awareness and rally support for all of the TRiO programs. Considered a National Day of Service, TRiO program participants are encouraged to perform acts of community service as a way to give back and say thank you for the federal support they receive as well as to celebrate the positive impact they have had in their communities.
To receive more detailed information and become involved in the TRiO Foster A Dream Project, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- CSU-Pueblo --
Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.
-- Pueblo Community College --
Founded in 1933, Pueblo Community College is a premier teaching institution focused on providing academic and service excellence to help its students acquire the 21st Century skills needed to better their lives. An educational and technological leader, PCC fosters economic development and utilizes strong partnerships in the communities it serves through its Pueblo, Fremont and Southwest campuses.