Of the many clubs on campus that participated in Club Rush Week, there is one you may have heard of, but haven’t taken the time to get to know. The Guardian Scholars Program and Club of Merced College has slowly become a vital resources for foster youth on campus.

The Guardian Scholars, headed by Student Success Services Assistant Robbie Deen, has become a hub for those who are familiar with the foster care system, both past and present. The program was implemented by the state of California when the state realized that assistance to foster youth was desperately needed at the upper-division level. Over 100 students participate in the Guardian Scholars Program at Merced College, which offers academic support, the development of life skills, student housing, mental health, documentation and other various areas.

“It’s really about students helping students,” Deen said, “We help students who intend to transfer out, who want to be productive and need support.”

Deen is an advisor to the Guardian Scholars Club, which is a subgroup of the Guardian Scholars program that participates in school events across campus. The club raises money for opportunities like college campus tours and trips to the state Senate, where they observe the laws being passed regarding foster youth and the California foster care system. Requirements to participate in the program include being a former or current foster youth under the age of 24 and a current student at Merced College.

The club, which began last semester, is focused on expanding opportunities for the foster youth on campus.

“The club is completely the students,” Deen said. “They decide everything from how the money is spent to how they want to help and explore more options, including career choices.”

To learn more about Guardian Scholars, visit Deen in Study Central, located directly across from Student Health Services in the Student Union, or the Financial Aid Office.

-- Alessandria Pedretti