Fostering College Success: A Loyal Educational Ally

Three TMCC students enjoy each other's company while walking through the plaza on a beautiful summer day.
Jared Libby

A foster care upbringing could not have been easy, but these students are a testament to what the human spirit can accomplish when facing adversity. As TMCC’s inclusive community continues to welcome students from all backgrounds to our campus, classrooms, and culture, a supportive department stands resolutely beside them: the Fostering College Success Program.

Good Coaches Improve Your Game, Great Coaches Improve Your Life

Designed for students who experienced foster care at some point, the Fostering College Success Program provides support through financial assistance/fee waivers, including dedicated professionals to guide you on your way.

Everyone deserves an ally in their education. Without another’s belief in ourselves, the luster of learning begins to fade. What is it all for if we can’t share pride in our achievements? Guidance is the foundation for building from, and TMCC is plentiful with people who actively work alongside you to bring you that fulfilling experience you’ve been waiting for. Regardless of age or how long you resided in foster care, your eligibility for this program is valid.

Annalisa Walker, Fostering College Success Advocate, is your lifeline, helping you discover all available resources through detailed conversations with personal and productive options to meet your goals.

“I advocate for students when they hit obstacles or unfortunate situations. They need assistance, and I’ll accompany them to their appointments, Academic Advising, and make phone calls. Tons of one-on-one support,” Walker said.

“Ninety percent of the days, I work with Financial Aid, the Cashier’s Office, and Admission and Records to ensure students are on track for enrollment, course payments, or FAFSA issues. They appreciate working with me directly because they’re often unsure which questions to ask,” continued Walker.

Top Three Tips for Former Foster Youth

We could all use a coach to promote wise decisions for our college careers, but ultimately, you must decide the direction of your life. It’s scary transitioning to undergraduate status in any institution, unfamiliar with how the outcomes will play out, and juggling which career field is perfect for you. Roughly seventy to seventy-five students join this worthwhile initiative every calendar academic year, prepared to feel the sensation of receiving a gorgeous, black folder at commencement. Here are the top tips for having success at TMCC:

  1. Remember to have fun! Events are constantly popping up throughout the semester, encouraging you to cultivate relationships while traversing this unfamiliar landscape. Check the Calendar of Events frequently to see what’s on the horizon. Informational summits aid in identifying scores of services from other TMCC divisions, Washoe County agencies, and nonprofits. Recreational events like luncheons, volunteering, theater trips, and artistic venue visits are all possibilities for extracurricular camaraderie with your peers.
  2. Lean on your mentor(s). “The number of emails, phone calls, and conversations with students who are so appreciative is heartwarming. Many of them say, for the first time in their lives, they have someone who is there for them, doesn’t abandon them, and helps them. It keeps me coming back and is super reassuring,” Walker said.
  3. Get involved with the Fostering College Success Program.

TMCC offers assistance not just through Walker’s office but also through countless other areas. Other mentors can be in the classroom, the Tutoring and Learning Center, Academic Advising, the Career Hub, and more. Not all have the privilege of a mentor they can count on or look up to for advice. TMCC is proud of its educators and administrators who genuinely yearn for the welfare of all who find this a scholarly home where they can thrive and pursue a better future. The past should stay where it belongs. Turn the page to the next chapter of your life with those eager to hear your tale.

“Our program is available to anyone with former foster care experience, even with one day, week, or month. Regardless if the person was one month or a year old, they are eligible. It is very welcoming and helpful, and if anybody is interested in sitting down with me to learn more about it, I would love that,” Walker said.

For more information, please visit the Fostering College Success Program website.