Guardian Scholar Graduates
When Tiffany Brooks turned 18, she left her sixth and final foster home. Because she was no longer eligible for State or federal financial support, the path to a college a degree seemed daunting -- until Brooks learned about SF State"s Guardian Scholars Program. The collaboration between the campus Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and the School of Social Work offers counseling, tutoring and housing to former foster care youth, many of whom grow up without positive role models or encouragement to pursue a college education.
In spring 2008, Brooks was the first Guardian Scholar to graduate from SF State. "It would have been really hard without the program," she says, adding that she"s been especially grateful for support during semester breaks when she, like many former foster care youth, otherwise might not have a place to stay. "Summers are the hardest," Brooks says, recalling her first year at SF State prior to the launch of the program in 2005.
Brooks, a criminal justice studies major who works part-time in SF State"s Police Department, has made the Dean"s List for four years. After graduation she plans to earn a master"s in public policy, attend law school and give back to her community.
"I"m just so proud of her," says Xochitl Sanchez-Zaramag, who founded the self-supporting program at SF State with Assistant Professor of Social Work Sonja Lenz-Rashid.
Both are only a call away for Guardian Scholars students, providing anything from advice on roommate disagreements to a ride to check out a summer sublet. "They do make you feel stronger, make you feel like you can make it," Brooks says. "Their determination and passion have motivated me more, helped me to not slip up."
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