Guardian Scholars Program

About the Program

For students who have aged out of foster care and enroll at JCSU, formalized services and support are offered in the areas of:

  • intensive academic coaching
  • additional financial aid
  • year-round housing

JCSU grounds its program by incorporating community partners to serve youth from ages 16 to 22 who will age out or have aged out of foster care. The goal is to dramatically affect retention and graduation rates of former foster youth by providing:

  • Year-round housing and other basic needs
  • Financial aid
  • Academic advising, career counseling and supplemental support
  • Personal guidance and counseling
  • Opportunities for student community engagement and leadership
  • Planned transitions

Contact Information

For more information regarding the Guardian Scholars Program, contact Pat Newell, Program Development Associate, at (704) 378-1164 or via email at

Victor Lopez

At age seven, Victor Lopez entered the foster care system and moved from family to family for the next five years until he found what he refers to as the “right home” for him. Doing well in school, Victor recalls that going to college was never an “if.”

Jockuela Ballard-Ross '13

Jockuela Ballard-Ross has a lot to cheer about. Removed from her mother’s care at age 10, her grandmother became her foster parent. Active in cheerleadering with the San Francisco Brown Bombers, a Pop Warner non-profit organization serving area youth, Jockuela’s cheerleading coach and her husband provided a home for her six years later, after her grandmother suffered a stroke.

Louisa Taylor '14

Louisa Taylor’s love for music was formed at an early age when she began composing songs in the sixth grade. The JCSU sophomore is continuing on that path as a music business major with aspirations of becoming a gospel recording artist and business woman.

Danyell Mitchell '15

For sophomore Danyell Mitchell, college was not always an option. As a youth growing up in foster care in Cleveland, Ohio, she had little or no guidance about how to get into college, let alone pay for it. Even the application process proved daunting.  “College was not an option in my head because I knew I couldn’t afford it,” said Mitchell.  But in the back of her mind was a nagging desire to become the first in her family to attend.