Statewide summit to focus on college access for youth from foster care

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Fostering Success Michigan logo.

The summit is set for May 16.

KALAMAZOO—Michiganders who support foster care youth and alumni in their pursuit of higher education and career success will gather at Western Michigan University this month for Fostering Success Michigan's third annual summit.

The free event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, May 16, on campus in the Fetzer Center. Professionals engaged in foster care-related activities as well as youth from foster care and community partners across the state are encouraged to attend.

The summit theme for this year is "One Thing: Transforming Your Practice, Transforming the Education to Career Pipeline." It focuses on people identifying the one thing they can do in their daily work to improve access to higher education for students from foster care.

"May is National Foster Care Month, and the Center for Fostering Success is marking it with free events aimed at raising awareness about the importance of increasing access and success in higher education for students who have experienced foster care," says Maddy Day, director of outreach and training for the Center for Fostering Success and the person who oversees Fostering Success Michigan.

"The summit is our biggest event of the year. We are hopeful that our statewide partners will leave feeling inspired and empowered to support students from foster care as they reach their education goals."

Summit highlights

The Fostering Success Michigan Summit will feature skill-based workshops in which experts present concrete information that will give professionals useful tools they can use in their support of students from foster care.

In addition, inspiring speakers will give voice to students' experiences, while the student-led simulation and student breakout session will be valuable opportunities for students to engage with professionals and supportive adults.

Immediately following the summit, there will be a networking reception from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Fetzer Center. Reception attendees will be able to enjoy light appetizers and beverages while meeting new Fostering Success Michigan partners, connecting with colleagues and students, and learning about the support programs offered on 12 college campuses in Michigan.

The day before the summit, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 15, those interested can attend a screening of the powerful independent feature film "Short Term 12" at the Kalamazoo Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in downtown Kalamazoo.

The documentary explores the complex challenges faced by students who have experienced foster care. The show is free and open to the public, and food and beverages can be purchased before and during the screening. Space is limited and pre-registration is required.

Additional information, registration

Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided throughout the day during the summit. In addition, attendees can receive Michigan Department of Human Services, or DHS, training hours; continuing education units, or CEUs; and state continuing educational clock hours, or SCECHs.

No fee is associated with DHS hours, and Foster Success Michigan will pay for the first 100 people to sign up for CEUs and SCECHs.

Fostering Success Michigan is part of WMU's Center for Fostering Success; both organizations are statewide initiatives that aim to increase awareness of, access to and success in higher education and post-college careers for youth and alumni of foster care. The center also includes the acclaimed Seita Scholars program, which now annually supports some 160 students from foster care enrolled at WMU.

For more information about the summit, visit fosteringsuccessmichigan.com and click the News & Events tab. Summit information and a registration form are available by clicking the Foster Care Month story under Latest News. The "Short Term 12" registration form is available by clicking the film screening story under Upcoming Events. Direct questions to Maddy Day at maddy.day@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2004.