Locations: 1229 W. Poplar St., Rogers, AR
The mission of Chrysalis Scholars is to improve retention and graduation rates of young adults who have experienced foster care and are enrolled or have plans to enroll in a Northwest Arkansas college, university, or higher education opportunity.
A "chrysalis" is the hard protective covering for a caterpillar as it is in the process of becoming a butterfly. The Chrysalis Scholars program strives to serve as a protective covering that will enable young adults who have experienced foster care to reach their fullest potential.
We ultimately have a vision of changing the landscape of higher education and professions in NWA through greater representation of young adults who have experienced foster care.
Thanks to the investment of the Walmart Foundation, the Chrysalis Scholars Program launched in April 2015 under the umbrella of Saving Grace of NWA. Saving Grace provides transitional housing for young women who have aged out of foster care and/or who are facing homelessness. It is through our connection with DHS, CASA, and foster parents that we have heard countless stories of former foster youth starting college and dropping out after the first semester. Local statistics likely mirror the dismal 3-8% graduation rates of young adults who age out of care (compared to 46% of their peers).
The Chrysalis Scholars Program meets the needs of Scholars at different stages, from dream development to degree completion. We are presenting working to get in front of 15-18 year old foster youth in NWA and help them cast a vision for life once they turn 18. Our academic coach, Kristin Page, works with CASA and DHS support persons to identify young adults in our area who have expressed an interest in higher education.
The next stage of support is EQUIPPING that prospective college students with the tools & resources required for preparing for college, enrolling in college, and starting college. Navigating the financial aid process is often times an insurmountable obstacle for many without strong family support . . . our coach can help with that!
Once a Chrysalis Scholar has started school, we work hard to SUPPORT that student as an individual and help him/her overcome the challenges of higher education. We also strive to be a strong source of encouragement through the delivery of care packages throughout the year and helping each scholar make a one-on-one connection with a career mentor.
In addition to helping us spread the word to potential Scholars, there are many ways for an individual to get plugged in to what's happening through Chrysalis Scholars. We have three areas of need currently (besides recruitment): 1) Serve on our Fueled team. This team prepares a nice meal for the 15-18+ year olds who attend monthly life skills classes for youth in foster care; 2) Recruit a work team or Sunday school class to adopt a month and put together Building Block care packages for Chrysalis Scholars enrolled in higher education; and 3) Sign up to be a Career Mentor and commit to mentor a Chrysalis Scholar for at least one academic year.