FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Foster youth in the Central Valley will be getting an extra hand when it comes to graduating from college.
The first day of college can be daunting for many. For students who come from foster homes that next step can be even more of a challenge. "Especially for this type of population there's always going to be challenges, especially from the upbringing coming from the foster household," said Rojelio Vasquez, Interim V.P. of Student Services.
Fresno City College is the only community college in the Central Valley to get a more than one million dollar grant that's geared specifically towards helping foster youth succeed in college. Officials hope the money breaks down their barriers. The grant doesn't just pay for textbooks and school supplies it can also help cover housing, childcare, even transportation costs.
Getting help with things like tuition or even food is crucial for foster youth student Freddy Chavez. "I think it's actually pretty awesome because unfortunately my parents can't really help me financially. I do have a little side job going on, but that's not enough to pay for all my courses and my books."
Chavez said the grant helps him focus on schoolwork instead of worrying about whether or not he has enough money for the bus. The 18-year old is enrolled in 13 credits and hoping to major in communication. "I wanted to come here because I want to transfer to a university at some point, and I believe Fresno City has the best opportunities for me to do that."
The grant also provides one-on-one counseling for each student in the program... To ensure the highest rate of success possible. "We identify the certain needs that they have and then we create a certain structure around helping the student so they can become successful," said Vasquez.
"It shows that someone is out there to actually help me, and be there for me when I'm not always going to be able to make it," said Chavez.
This semester the grant will help 40 students eventually helping another 200 over the next year.