WASHINGTON, D.C. June 17, 2013 – Only a fraction of foster children actually finish college, but the First Star Greater Washington Academy and the George Washington University (GW) are hoping to improve their odds by offering a new program, beginning next month.
For four weeks this summer, the First Star Academy presents students with a preview of college life through an academically rigorous residential immersion experience at GW. The First Star Greater Washington Academy is a year-round program for 30 foster youth entering 9th and 10th grade in Fairfax County, Va., and the District of Columbia. The academy provides students with academic support, enrichment and encouragement to help them become competitive applicants for subsequent admission to college.
“Only 3 percent of foster youth achieve a four year degree compared with the 30 percent of the general population. Our goal is to change that statistic,” said Elissa Garr, President of the First Star Greater Washington Academy. “We are honored to partner with such a prestigious institution as the George Washington University. This summer will be a wonderful introduction to college life for our students.”
The dates for the immersion are July 7 through August 1, 2013. There will be instruction by certified teachers in literacy, math, transitions, financial literacy, identity theft, yoga, brain development, study skills, independent living, applying to college and much more. GW Professor Roxanne Russell will teach a two-credit course entitled, Video Reporting. GW is providing athletic facilities and instruction in soccer, tennis, basketball and other sports. The students will be housed at a residence hall on the university’s Mt. Vernon campus. GW students will serve as mentors to the students and will live in the residence hall for the full four weeks.
“It’s so gratifying to work on a project where the benefits are so immediate and visible.” said Toni Marsh, College of Professional Studies associate dean for new initiatives and the GW liaison for the Academy. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of various parts of the university from athletics to the art therapy department all who volunteered their time and talent.”
Generous support for the First Star Greater Washington Academy has been provided by the Freddie Mac Foundation, Capital One, the Fairfax County Department of Family Services, the D.C. Department of Child and Family Services and many other foundations and individuals.
First Star Greater Washington Academy
One of a number of First Star Foster Youth Academies nationwide. First Star improves the lives of America’s abused and neglected children by strengthening their rights, illuminating systemic failures and igniting necessary reforms. We pursue our mission through research, public engagement, policy advocacy, education, direct services and litigation.
The George Washington University
In the heart of the nation’s capital with additional programs in Virginia, the George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study, as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and more than 130 countries.