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Why Give


Mike and Debbie Quillen

The period of transition from high school to college and living independently is a critical time for all young people – but especially so for foster youth. Imagine trying to work through seemingly immense changes without a parent, family member or mentor to guide you. Through no fault of their own, foster youth are on their own once they age out of the foster care system at age 18.

When foster youth fail to make the transition successfully, it can have devastating consequences not only for those youth, but for their communities. The statistics are grim for foster youth who age out of the system without any type of support:

  • Over 25% will be incarcerated in the first two years after leaving the system
  • Over 54% will become homeless or unstably housed
  • Less than 2% will earn a college degree, compared with 28% of the general population

Fortunately, we know the solution: Great Expectations greatly increases the likelihood of success for foster youth. Great Expectations helps each foster youth develop an individual path forward. Coaches work with students to navigate college financial and living arrangements, and peer mentors provide support and guidance. This individual help and attention makes a big difference in how successfully foster youth are able to transition into being independent, active and contributing members of their communities.

Read the recent NPR report: Foster Kids Face Tough Times After Age 18 

Great Expectations works – and it’s a great investment. Just $250 a month covers the support that foster youth need, including education programs, mentors, career coaching, academic counseling, assistance with financial aid and student and community activities. Compared with the annual cost of welfare or worse, Great Expectations provides an excellent return on your contribution.

We Need Your Support

We need your support to make Great Expectations a reality for all of Virginia’s foster youth. Your contribution will:

  • Provide coaches who can work one-on-one with foster youth to help them get into college and stay in school
  • Offer emergency assistance for housing, transportation or other situations so foster students can continue to attend class
  • Support peer mentor programs that offer foster youth a chance to get support from other foster youth who have walked in their shoes and have been successful
  • Help expand Great Expectations so it is available to all foster youth in Virginia

Make a donation today. Learn about naming and investment opportunities that will greatly increase access to Great Expectations for foster youth. Meet some of the young people who have been helped by Great Expectations and the donors who are helping pave the way for their success.

Meet Our Donors

Mike and Debbie Quillen support Great Expectations for a number of reasons. First on the list? They have raised foster children and understand the importance of a program like Great Expectations in helping youth in foster care to be successful.

Mike notes, “We understand and recognize how important education is to people in drawing out their potential. We believe that if we can help this program, that helps take people to that next level in their education. It just opens up so many more doors to them. It can impact them for the rest of their lives.”

“We know that each individual has to make their choices about where to make their donations, but we appreciate the support of everyone who follows us by supporting this great program.”

A major initiative of The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education
Virginia's Community Colleges
Funded in part by the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation