Mark Gagnon, associate dean of student services at College of St. Joseph, has been selected to co-present, along with Amanda Churchill, statewide director of the Youth Development Program, at the Vermont Educational Opportunity Program’s annual conference on Oct. 15. The workshop is titled “Supporting Foster Youth to Access and Complete Post-Secondary Education.”

This workshop will discuss services and resources available to foster youth through the Youth Development Program.  Financial aid and education options specifically available to former foster youth will also be shared.  Presenters will review barriers to accessing post-secondary education for foster youth and strategies for navigating through to graduation.  Other topics will include working directly with youth transitioning from foster care in college. Presenters will review challenges that youth can often face and strategies to support personal and academic success in college. Discussion of CSJ’s STEPS program model will occur as a framework of a specific support program.

STEPS, Students Taking an Effective Path to Success, is a full-time residential program for Vermont youth transitioning out of foster care. It provides a supportive campus environment for students so they can earn a college degree, develop work skills, and experience optional counseling and guidance support.

VEOP provides professionals working in educational opportunity programs a chance to enhance their professional skills, improve program effectiveness, and gain support for effectively delivering services to students. The organization brings together Vermont and New York program personnel who provide students with access and success in education at all levels, with the ultimate goal being completion of a program of post-secondary education.