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State Funding Continues for Ferris Youth Initiative Johnson Scholars, Campus Mentors, Participants Making Connections

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Ferris State University is excited to receive a three-year Youth In Transition grant for the Ferris Youth Initiative (FYI) Johnson Scholars Program.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has approved a three-year Youth In Transition grant for the Ferris Youth Initiative (FYI) Johnson Scholars Program. The funding allows Ferris to continue supporting young people advancing to higher education from the state’s foster care system.

The program is entering its second decade with this $353,051 grant, according to David Pilgrim, Ferris’ Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion, and Strategic Initiatives.

“We are deeply appreciative of this award,” Pilgrim said. “It allows us to continue helping our students who have aged out of foster care.”

Independent Living Skills Coach and FYI Johnson Scholars Coordinator Janette Ward said the grant, which takes effect on October 1, 2022, further allows for two one-year funding options to extend governmental support for the initiative.

“One requirement of this grant is that the faculty and staff who volunteer to be Johnson Scholars mentors receive training. That training is advancing very well,” Ward said. “It is likely that eight new mentors will be paired with student participants by the middle of October.”

Mentors invest a minimum of four hours a month with their scholars. Ward also has monthly meetings with each participant to review their academic progress and campus engagement. She said this is one of the largest participant groups they have supported in the program’s history, with 27 scholars, which includes 12 first-year students.

“Our programming is well underway,” Ward said. “We are pleased and grateful that with the State of Michigan’s support, we can offer a continuum of care to the FYI Johnson Scholars.”