Fostering Success Michigan Newsletter                   Volume    45         March 2016
Preparing for the Summer of Uncertainty

The spring semester is speeding along and spring break is just around the corner or already here for many students!

As we draw closer to the end of the semester, it is important for students, professionals, and supportive adults to consider how to best prepare for the uncertainty school breaks may bring for students with experience in foster care.

Although not fully comprehensive, consider checking out the resources below for ideas on how to prepare for the summer break ahead and to see what other youth have done:
Upcoming Webinar!
Our March webinar will highlight a research study as part of the Center for Fostering Success "Best Practice, Best Fit" Webinar Series.

Join us from the comfort of your computer screen as we tackle need-to-know information in the education to career pipeline for students with experience in foster care.
 Our webinars are a great way to gain professional development and the content is applicable students, professionals, and everyone in between!

Come one, come all, and come as you are! 

CFS "Best Practice, Best Fit" Webinar: 
Promoting Access to College for Older Youth in Foster Care: Receipt of Education Independent Living Services and the Role of Social Support on College Entry by Nathanael Okpych, MSW, MA
Tuesday, March 15th from 2:00-3:00pm 
Missed Out on Our Latest Webinars? Check Them Out Here!


Apply for the International Student Foundation Scholarship     

Applications for scholarship  and  mentoring program at ISF (International Student Foundation) are now  available for the 2016-2017 school year and are due by March 31st, 2016

ISF has a wonderful track record of working  with  students, supporting them both financially as well as emotionally. ISF  pairs  each student with a personal adult mentor that they can meet with  regularly  over the phone. This personal interaction and support has yielded  some  wonderful relationships and has helped students develop their  leadership  and life coping skills. 

For more information about ISF or the scholarship application, please click the links!
Resource Spotlight: TransitionChecklist
Transition Checklist 
When youth are in the process of transitioning out of foster care there are a variety of documents they will need to have on hand. These documents may need to be presented to care providers, school officials, caseworkers, and other professionals. 

Use this transition checklist to help keep track of the documents you already have and those you may need to get!  

Partner Spotlight: 
Designated Campus Champions

What exactly is a Designated Campus Champion? 

A Designated Campus Champion (DCC) is a staff or faculty on a post-secondary institution campus who is willing to be identified as a resource partner for any students with experience in foster care attending that institution.

What kind of supports can they offer to a student?

A Designated Campus Champion can help students understand what resources are available to them at a given school as well as the greater community. Beyond that, Designated Campus Champions have an attitude of willingness to help students with "yes, and..." versus a "yeah, but..." approach.  

Where can I find a Designated Campus Champion near me? 

You can find a Designated Campus Champion on the FSM website here -OR- you can check out our listing of Designated Campus Champions in our Getting to Know...Higher Education Resources for Students from Foster Care Guide (along with other great resources)! 

How does someone become a Designated Campus Champion? 

The first qualification is a willingness to help students navigate available resources. The next step is contacting Fostering Success Michigan at (269) 387-8386 or

For more information about Designated Campus Champions, click here
Join MSU FAME On Campus This Summer!

The FAME Program will be launching a new initiative this summer for current high school youth in foster care called STEPS- Supporting the Transition to higher Education and Personal Success. 
  • STEPS is a FREE informative and interactive one-day college exploration and preparation seminar developed specifically for students in foster care. 
  • Participants will have the opportunity to spend a day on the campus of Michigan State University and learn about important topics such as college admissions, financial aid, career preparation and campus living.
  • Additionally, participants will have an opportunity to connect with MSU staff and faculty presenters and current MSU students involved in the FAME program.
FAME invites youth to participate in one of five separate seminars on the following dates: June 14, 21, 23, 28, 30. 
Space is limited to 10 participants per session and will be filled in the order of applications received.

Please fill out the attached registration form and return via email to Andrea Martineau by March 31st to reserve a spot for your youth today. While you do not need to know exact names of youth participants now, please indicate the number of youth you expect to bring from your county/program so we can ensure all spots are reserved. Final confirmation of participants will be requested in May.

The program will begin with breakfast at 8:30 am and end with dinner at 5:30 pm. Meals and parking for all guests (including chaperones) will be provided. Groups will need to arrange their own transportation. If you have any additional questions, please contact Andrea Martineau, FAME Program Coordinator. 
Fostering Success Coach Training 2016  Dates Now Open for Registration! 
Training Dates for Level I Coaching:  
March 30-Apr 1, 2016: Kalamazoo, MI
August 17-19, 2016: Kalamazoo, MI

November 16-18, 2016: Kalamazoo, MI

Click here to register! 


Coming Soon: 

Level I: May 2016: Location TBD

Level II: Summer 2016, Winter 2016


Click here for more information about Fostering Success Coach Training and registration details. 
Check it out! 

The FSM Network Map now includes a new
 section for Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative and updated links!

Click here to learn more about MYOI or click here  to find an MYOI location near you! 

2-1-1 Free Tax Preparation

Whether or not you owe any income tax, if you are a Michigan taxpayer you may qualify to get FREE help in completing your income taxes by an IRS trained volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) or tax counseling for the elderly (TCE) preparer. 

To get more information or to find a VITA site near you, click here
FSM Podcast Series Now Available on
The FSM Podcast Series highlights partners and important work happening in the FSM Network. 
You can check out the first three podcasts here or search for us on iTunes! 
What FSM Region are you in?  
Often, FSM will target specific regions of Michigan for  relevant  events, publications, or other information.
FSM Student Bloggers

Check out the first entry from Student Blogger Damonta' M, speaking to the lived experience of  navigating FAFSA and Other Life Lesssons

Keep an eye out for upcoming Student Blog posts on the FSM Stories page. 

Seven Second Sociables!
With just a couple of clicks, you can share valuable resources with your social network! 

   @FSMichigan: Check out the the Upcoming CFS "Best Practice, Best Fit" Webinar on March 15! Register here!         
[Click here to Tweet  or post to Facebook ]

 @FSMichigan: Want to become a FSM Designated Campus Champion? Click here! 
                                                            [Click here to Tweet or post to Facebook]

Spring into Support for the Summer of Uncertainty

Although Michigan weather has a way of surprising us, spring is just around the corner! With spring comes the excitement of a semester nearly completed as well as the uncertainty that summer break may bring. For many students with experience in foster care, the break in between the spring and fall semesters may be challenging, particularly in regards to basic needs like housing, food, and employment. While the challenge is complex, right now is the perfect time to take action! 

Students, professionals, and supportive adults alike can take time to be proactive in regard to the uncertainty of summer break, especially for those students navigating the time in between high school graduation and their first semester at college. 

What can you do? You could point student in the direction of resources, like Foster Youth in Transition Funds or their local Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative. You can personally connect a student with someone who may have a better understanding of the resources available to them (we call this the warm hand-off in the FSM office). If you do not know what resources or supports are available, you could also simply be willing to partner with a student in finding the answers and resources together. As we talked about Designated Campus Champions above, it does not take being a part of a formally recognized student support program to be an advocate or supportive adult in the life of a student. First and foremost it takes a willingness to be of help and an openness to partnering with a student as the expert in their own lived experience.

It is through these seemingly small acts of supporting, resourcing, and networking that we collectively move the needle towards the goal of increased access and success in higher education and post-college careers for students with experience in foster care. In the words of John F. Kennedy, "one person can make a difference, and everyone should try". 

Take care,  
Maddy Day, MSW
Director of Outreach and Training 
Center for Fostering Success 
Western Michigan University
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