News Release

VIRGINIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES FOSTERING POWERFUL CHANGE

Media Contact:
Jeffrey Kraus
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Public Relations
(804) 819-4949
jkraus@vccs.edu

Released on May 23, 2011

News Release Highlights

  • New Great Expectations program launched at John Tyler Community College.
  • 15 programs statewide provide services to foster youth transitioning to college.

RICHMOND – The month of May is designated as Foster Care Awareness Month, and Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) are commemorating the month by announcing the expansion of its foster youth education initiative to three new community colleges.

This spring, the Great Expectations program for foster youth is being launched at John Tyler Community College (JTCC). John Tyler’s program joins 14 other growing and established Great Expectations programs across the state that are helping foster youth complete high school, gain access to higher education and transition successfully from the foster care system to living in-dependently.

“Youth in foster care are a particularly vulnerable population,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “Many of these youth have never had an adult say to them ‘I think you have what it takes to be successful.’ Great Expectations is doing that, and providing the support, guidance and access to resources that young people in more stable environments take for granted.”

“We are excited to launch the Great Expectations program at John Tyler,” said Dr. Marshall Smith, president of John Tyler Community College. “These students have hopes and dreams like everyone else. I’m excited that we can help them access the skills and support they need to successfully achieve those dreams.”

An initiative of the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE), Great Expectations helps foster youth gain access to higher education and provides the support services needed for foster youth to be successful. Nationally, foster youth pursue and complete college at a rate of less than 2 percent. Statistically, a child in foster care is much more likely to end up behind bars or living on the street than to see the inside of a college classroom. Great Expectations changes that dynamic by providing individualized counseling, workforce certifications, life skills training, mentoring, assistance applying for college and navigating the financial aid sys-tem. Vicky Muensterman has joined John Tyler as the Great Expectations coach, working out of the Department of Career Pathways. Fourteen other coaches at community colleges across the Commonwealth also provide services to this vulnerable population so that they can be successful in college and beyond. New programs are got under way this spring at Lord Fairfax Community College and Tidewater Community College.

Launched three years ago with five pilot programs, the Great Expectations initiative has served more than 500 students during that time. Significant funds have been raised to support the in-itiative, but much more could be done with additional support.

Great Expectations also is offered at the following colleges:

  • Danville Community College
  • Germanna Community College
  • J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
  • Lord Fairfax Community College
  • Mountain Empire Community College
  • New River Community College
  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • Patrick Henry Community College
  • Piedmont Virginia Community College
  • Southside Virginia Community College
  • Southwest Virginia Community College
  • Tidewater Community College
  • Virginia Highlands Community College
  • Wytheville Community College

More information Great Expectations is available at greatexpectations.vccs.edu.

About Virginia’s Community Colleges:Created more than 40 years ago, the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) is com-prised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than a quarter-million credit students each year. For more information, please visit myfuture.vccs.edu.

About the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education: Working hand in hand with Virginia’s 23 community colleges, the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education seeks to guarantee financial assistance to all students who dream of attending college. The foundation is building an endowment that is already generating interest to provide full scholarships to selected community college students. Donors to the fund are invited to endow a single scholarship in their name and designate it to any of Virginia’s Community Colleges or regions. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu/Foundation.

About John Tyler Community College: John Tyler is a two-year, public institution of higher education and is the fifth largest of the 23 community colleges in Virginia. With campuses in Chester and Midlothian and off-campus classrooms throughout the area, John Tyler offers quality and economical opportunities for students who want to earn a degree or certificate, transfer to a four-year college or university, train for the workforce, or switch careers. The College, which served more than 13,690 students during the 2009 – 10 academic year, offers 17 associate degrees, eight certificates and 37 career studies certificates. The Col-lege also is committed to sustainability. In July 2010, it received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification for its Midlothian Campus Science Building, becoming the first in the Virginia Community College System to receive such recognition. John Tyler Community College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. For more information, please visit www.jtcc.edu.

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