The Foster Champion Program, which began at PVCC in 2017 as a simple idea to help students who experienced foster care, successfully transition to college, has grown into a full-fledged operation benefiting PVCC’s foster alumni. Anne Suzuki, Lori Espinoza, Christine Berry, Tim Wilson, and Viviana Jacques, worked directly with Sam Garmen, who oversees the foster alumni programs at Maricopa County Community College District.
“This is a great example of PVCC’s strong desire to create positive social change and impact our community and the children who will one day become future leaders,” said Suzuki.
Garmen helped our PVCC crew get started, connecting us to the Department of Economic Security (DES). The result – back-to-back successful holiday fundraisers in 2018 and 2019, collecting toys for foster children.
Berry, who is a champion in the Foster Advocate program, recalled from her days working at the State of Arizona, “I remember children being taken from their homes unexpectedly. Often times, these children were taken with only the clothing they had on at the time. Upon arrival to DES, they faced a barrage of strangers, unexpected outcomes and stress.
“When we partnered with Rayetta Sanchez at DES for the holiday Giving Tree for Foster kids, she mentioned the ongoing need for donations throughout the year,” Berry continued. “Upon learning of a need for employee donations at PVCC Convocation, Rayetta immediately came to mind. I was more than happy to reach out to her with the hopes of partnering with her again to continue with PVCC's giving. "
Last summer, our team facilitated a Foster Alumni Coaching training, helping to draw more attention to the cause and provide more support for our foster alumni students. We are also continuing talks with Sanchez and the DES to support foster children needs through service learning and internship possibilities.