The Great Expectations “Building the Bond” tour made its final stop at JSRCC with a luncheon event for over 100 stakeholders including students, foster parents, social workers and others who work with Virginia’s foster youth on Wednesday, May 29.
Who among us doesn’t remember teenage angst? Imagine getting through those years with no support system, no one to turn to for advice. That’s what foster youth face, and much worse. That’s why the Great Expectations program is so important to Virginia’s foster youth. With its emphasis on a person-to-person connection with a Great Expectations coach, the program offers a unique answer to the vexing challenge of single-digit foster youth graduation statistics. Great Expectations seeks to increase foster youth graduation and college retention rates.
Anne Holton, the program director of Great Expectations, and other Virginia Community College leaders have hosted events across Virginia this month, seeking ideas and support for elevating the next phase of the foster youth-focused program. May is National Foster Care Month.
Great Expectations began in fall 2008 as a pilot program at five Virginia community colleges and has grown to serve foster youth at 17 Virginia community colleges today. J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College was among the schools who piloted the program in 2008. Over the past four years 28 students have graduated from the Great Expectations program at Reynolds and 58 are currently enrolled. Statewide more than 500 youth are currently in the program.
The May 29th luncheon celebrated JSRCC’s newest Great Expectations graduates, highlighted the importance of the bond between Great Expectations students and their coaches, and concluded with a discussion seeking suggestions on ways to improve the program for the future.
For more information on the Great Expectations program, please visit www.reynolds.edu.