Thomas Nelson Great Expectations Coach Sonja Vega (far right) recently attended a celebration honoring the program's 2019 graduates. She is shown with (l-r) former Virginia First Lady and former Great Expectations Director Anne Holton, who is now George Mason University's interim president, Thomas Nelson student and new Great Expectations graduate Antonio Dill-Ward, and State Board for Community Colleges Chair Robin Sullenberger.
The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) has announced the approval of its Joe and Linda Daniel Great Expectations Innovation Grant Program awards. The funds will support innovative approaches to the retention and engagement of foster youth across Virginia.
The VFCCE awarded a total of $221,502 in this initial grant cycle. Funds will be distributed to the educational foundations of 11 schools within Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS).
Thomas Nelson Community College is among those awarded and will receive a $20,000 grant to support Great Expectations student interns. The interns will assist with recruiting, mentoring and community outreach. Other efforts within the program will also benefit from the funding. Thomas Nelson officials acknowledged Great Expectations Coach Sonja Vega and members of the Development team within the Office of Institutional Advancement for their efforts in securing the grant.
A VCCS and VFCCE initiative, the Great Expectations program steers foster care youth ages 17-24 toward higher education and career options. The program initially launched at five VCCS schools in 2008, began at Thomas Nelson in 2015, and has spread to nearly all Virginia community colleges to date.
An in-depth article about the new grant award will be available soon.