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New AmeriCorps Partnership Expands Foster Youth Support Services

In January 2021, Pepperdine University’s Horizon Scholars Program began partnering with the Child Abuse Prevention Center’s CA Foster Youth Initiative, a CaliforniaVolunteers-funded AmeriCorps program. As an AmeriCorps partner, the Horizon Scholars Program will be developing support and mentoring services for foster youth in high schools and community colleges from neighboring communities.

The new partnership, implemented by associate director of financial assistance and program director of the Horizon Scholars Program Deborah Armstrong, brings an AmeriCorps member to Pepperdine to directly support foster youth as they prepare for their next steps after high school. 

“We are pleased that our inaugural AmeriCorps member is Seaver College alumna Shauna Andre (’16), and we are thrilled to see how the program will grow in this first year of a transformative partnership,” shares Armstrong. 

For nearly nine years, Horizon Scholars Program has empowered current and former foster youth to achieve academic success in higher education through support services, mentorship, and financial assistance. Under the supervision and guidance of Armstrong, Andre will be mentoring up to eight foster youth to build the skills necessary for a successful transition to adulthood, including graduation from high school and pursuit of higher education. In the inaugural year of the partnership, Armstrong and Andre hope to gain feedback from foster youth, Horizon Scholars board members, and other Pepperdine community members as they continue to shape and form the program.

This partnership with AmeriCorps, a federal agency connecting individuals and organizations through service and volunteering to tackle the nation’s most pressing challenges, is made possible through the support of the Seaver College Dean Michael Feltner, dean of enrollment management Kristy Collins, and director of financial assistance Janet Lockhart.