New UWEC program looks to help students in need

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Picture being a student who grew up in foster care or is homeless who does not have the proper resources to help them succeed.

new program looks to help students in need by offering free school supplies and basic hygiene products.

The new Fostering Success program at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire looks to address these issues.

Angie Swenson-Holzinger, Advising, Retention + Career Center associate director, highlighted what the program aims to accomplish.

"What we're working on doing is several initiatives,” said Swenson-Holzinger. “The most immediate one being the pulling together some of the basic needs that students need going into their first semester on campus. There’s a lot of assumptions that we make about family support in the university setting, and one of those is the supplies that students get from families typically."

The fostering success program will supply the basic necessities that students have from hygiene products to school supplies.

The university has already identified several students that meet the qualifications for assistance in the incoming class.

"We have identified that there are 50 students in the incoming class who are qualifying for fostering success so far,” she said. “So we've set the goal to try and get those welcome baskets together for those students this fall."

The program is the result of a partnership between the Leadership Fellows Cohort and former foster student, Taz smith.

Smith is happy that she is able to help students who are in a similar situation.

"It feels really good,” smith said. “It gives me something to be proud about and it gives me something to wake up every morning and look forward to doing. I feed off making other people happy.”

Smith also had some advice for incoming students that may feel embarrassed to ask for help.

"I would just say, think of it as something that's going to help you get to where you need to be and not something as of in the right now."

The program is new to the university and is looking to make welcome baskets to give to the 50 people in the incoming class in order to help them adjust to campus life.

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