It is heartening to know about the programs and resources here in California for college-bound students who come from difficult, often contentious backgrounds. Regardless what you think about undocumented students, or more frequently legal citizens who are minors with undocumented parents, I'm glad to know that there are laws to help students follow the path towards legalization and resident status as well as clear rules about what aid they are not eligible for (all state & federal).
But what really impressed me was the system in place for students from foster care. I took for granted the luxury of coming home during winter break in college, but these students are not always so lucky. Besides scholarships and grants to help with tuition and living expenses, guaranteed housing, and academic support, these campus clubs also provide a mentorship program and much-needed social activities. I am thinking of a few students in particular and all that I can do to change the statistics. 70% of kids in foster care report wanting to go to college, but they are graduating at a low rate of 20%.
The good news is that the achievement gap between ethnic and racial groups is decreasing. I know that I can have a very real impact on a handful of students. Taking just a little extra time to help someone in a "special population" is not only doable but the right thing to do.