Grant Awarded to CCMA VISTA Project Fostering Terp Success at UMD

December 15, 2020
Blog post by Alexander Elliott, CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA member with the UMD Fostering Terp Success
CCMA VISTA member Alex Elliott stacks extra pillows and blankets for students in the Fostering Terp Success program.

Fostering Terp Success (FTS) at the University of Maryland is a campus-wide community of support and belonging for students who were or are in foster care, are homeless, at risk of being homeless, or without a supportive family system. Our comprehensive network of staff, faculty and alumni is committed to creating a safe community that works to remove barriers and assist students in accessing essential campus services, navigating challenges and developing self-advocacy and life skills.

We are committed to understanding and meeting the unique needs of students. The University recognizes the profound challenges and barriers students face and believe in their capacity to be successful at Maryland and beyond. The FTS community is dedicated to supporting them throughout their time at Maryland and helping them persist through graduation. As a CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA, I organize regular student workshops and Campus Coach meetings; coordinate strengths-based, trauma-informed training for staff/faculty to be one-on-one Campus Coaches to students; create systems to support a growing number of students in the program; and continue to build capacity for the program to better support students as they join. This ranges from engaging with partner organizations on/off-campus to maintaining consistent contact with students and volunteers, and assessing training/workshops to improve support. Lately the focus is on best impacting student services with a recently awarded grant to fund  Fostering Terp Success year-round housing and an accompanying workshop series.

The University of Maryland was awarded $260,000 over the next two years to support the Fostering Terp Success Homelessness Resource Project. The grant is part of the $3.48 million awarded to the Prince George’s County Continuum of Care (CoC) by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in support of the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP). The goal of the YHDP program is to support communities in the development and implementation of coordinated community and statewide approaches to preventing and ending youth homelessness that can be replicated elsewhere across the state and nation.

As part of the Fostering Terp Success program, the Homelessness Resource Project will engage homeless YYA pursuing an undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland. FTS will implement an innovative project to address the needs of students who are experiencing homelessness by staffing Fostering Terp Success with a full-time caseworker and providing gap housing during winter and summer breaks. This project will ensure that our homeless students remain safely and stably housed throughout the year, provide comprehensive coordinated homeless services and intentional connections with on-campus and off-campus resources, and foster the skills needed to navigate their current environment and successfully transition to life beyond UMD following graduation.

We did it!!! Our YHDP project (project-named the Fostering Terp Success Homelessness Resource Project) was selected for funding!

 

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