BLOOMSBURG, COLUMBIA COUNTY(WBRE/WYOU-TV) – More than 23-thousand children will age out of the U-S Foster Care System this year – and that’s a problem..according to the National Foster Youth Institute.
After reaching the age of 18, 20-percent of those children instantly become homeless.
Bloomsburg University is entering their third year of running their “Anchor Program”, which gives foster kids a chance to explore educational experiences on the University’s campus.
Nearly 15-thousand children across Pennsylvania are touched by the foster care system in some way.
Which is why leaders at Bloomsburg University have stepped in to lend a helping hand.
“We know that nationally the outcomes for young people in foster care are not always good and we look at what can a public university..what is our role in helping address those outcomes,” said Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, James Brown.
The “Anchor Program” gives 15-18 year old children in the foster care system a chance to explore their academic interests and talents through a multi-year summer residential college life program.
And a recent 2.2 million dollar gift donation will make the program even larger.
“With this gift we’ll be able to reach out to more counties in our region and with that we’ll be able to develop those relationships and have those people send us their kids for a week for a fun time,” said Brown.
“Money can be tight building new programs, but them having the ability to fund some of it can make it easier for counties as well,” said Case Worker with Columbia County Children and Youth Services, Elijah Cassiel.
Elijah Cassiel is a case worker with “Children and Youth Services”.
Elijah tells me he’s had nearly 10 kids from her organization join the Anchor Program in previous years.
“They enjoy the activities the classes. We’ve run into a lot of kids that didn’t know what they wanted to do with their future and after going to the Anchor Program they started to build goals,” said Cassiel.
This past summer at least 30 students applied and were accepted into the program.
Coordinators tell me that a number of those participants have been accepted to institutions across the Commonwealth.
“We do have a handful that do consider Bloomsburg. We have one fantastic student named Jared who’s here in his sophomore year,” said Coordinator of the Anchor Program, Rona Anderson.
It’s an opportunity to show foster kids a potential future…and that college is a way to gain access to bigger and better things.
“They’re regular teenagers they want to have fun they want to stay up late they want to do fun activities and kind of see what Bloomsburg has to offer,” said Anderson.
The application for the program will launch in early to mid April.
The Anchor Program will run this summer from July 6th to July 13th.