San Diego Mesa College. Photo credit: Alexander Nguyen

San Diego Mesa College announced Friday the opening of an on-campus support center for current and former foster youth.

The Fostering Academic Success and Transitions Center opened Thursday, during the first week of classes for the fall.

The center offers counseling, tutoring, computer access, child care, emergency housing and a food pantry. It will serve as a gathering space for youth as well.

“The number one goal we had in creating this program was to make it extremely difficult (for foster youth) to not be successful,” program coordinator Sade Burrell said.

Mesa College is the first community college in San Diego County to open such a support center on campus. Currently, only about one in 10 foster youth graduate from college; one-third of former foster youth are homeless by age 25.

College officials hope the center will help change those numbers in San Diego.

“What this center does is say, we see our foster youth. We see their experiences. We see the unique contributions that they bring to the campus, that we understand the many challenges or systemic barriers that are often placed in their way,” said Ashanti Hands, the college’s vice president of student services.

The center will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays. and can be reached at 619-388-5895.

– City News Service

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