Great Expectations is a statewide initiative that helps current and former foster youth gain access to a community college education and transition successfully from the foster care system to living independently.

Individual Support

MECC has a Great Expectations Coordinator that works individually with each student, providing support such as:

  • Individualized tutoring
  • Help applying for admission and financial aid
  • Career exploration and coaching
  • Help applying for and keeping a job
  • Life skills training
  • Personalized mentoring

Group Activities

In addition to individual support, Great Expectations students have the opportunity to participate in various group activities and outings throughout the year. In the past, MECC Great Expectations students traveled to Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Williamsburg, the Bristol Speedway, Natural Bridge, and other destinations.

ge-at-vccs-leadership-conference

Great Expectations students attended the VCCS Leadership Conference in Virginia Beach, VA in November 2016

Incentives

Great Expectations students also receive incentives for participating in the activities sponsored by the program. These can range from gas cards to alleviate transportation issues to door prizes at some events.

Opportunities for Advocacy

As part of a nationally recognized program, Great Expectations students often have the opportunity to act as a voice for foster youth and advocate for change by participating in focus groups, research surveys, and presenting to legislators.

Laptop Lending Program

Great Expectations has laptops available for students to check out and use for homework and job searches. Contact the GE Coordinator for more information.

Learn More

If you would like to learn more about Great Expectations please contact Kari Paschetto, MECC’s Great Expectations Coordinator, at 276.523.2400 ext. 422 or at kpaschetto@mecc.edu.

FAQ

Q: How do I know if I qualify for Great Expectations?

A: Generally, any student who has had experience with the foster system in any form (foster placement, kinship placement, group home experience, adoption, etc.) qualifies. You can always contact the GE Coordinator if you’re unsure.

Q: What exactly does Great Expectations do?

A: Great Expectations is designed to provide support to help guide former foster youth through college. This support looks different for every student. Some students need help with job applications or career choices. Others need more immediate support like housing and food. The GE Coordinator works individually with each student to identify their needs and to come up with a plan to meet those needs together. Additionally, all GE students are encouraged to attend the monthly meetings and group activities, which often include life skills training or other informational components.

Q: Am I required to attend the monthly meetings to be a part of Great Expectations?

A: No, but it is recommended. We know that schedules can be difficult, and it is not a requirement to attend the meetings. However, students are encouraged to attend when they can, and incentives are provided.

Q: Why should I join Great Expectations?

A: Students who are a part of Great Expectations have access to resources that other students may not have access to and are eligible to attend group activities and outings. Even if you are unable to attend most of the group activities, being a part of GE means that in the case of an emergency, you are eligible to apply for assistance from the Emergency Fund.

 

Helpful Links

VCCS Great Expectations

VDSS Services for Older Youth

VA Wizard

Frontier Health (Behavioral Health Services)

People, Inc. (Youth Workforce Services)

RACE 1 (GED Acquisition)

VA Job Corps