Foster youth Aztecs give thanks

by Hannah Beausang

Hannah Beausang, Staff Writer

Since 2009, the Guardian Scholars Thanksgiving dinner has connected foster youth by giving students a sense of family and community.

Students and faculty joined together the Thursday before the break to celebrate Thanksgiving. Smiles filled the room as a full thanksgiving dinner was served, complete with pumpkin pie.

The SDSU Guardian Scholars Program, created in 2007, helps youth who are from the foster care system, wards of the court, under legal guardianship or unaccompanied and homeless. The program is meant to make the transition from high school or community college to SDSU easier.

Students are provided with financial resources, aid, academic, emotional support and with living accommodations. Continuing students in the program have the opportunity to become mentors for new members.

SDSU President Elliot Hirshman spoke at the dinner, highlighting the success of the program and the accomplishments of the students. Guardian Scholar Ora Cooley was the master of ceremonies for the event. Other students spoke throughout the course of the night. In their speeches, the students honored faculty members, shared stories of their achievements at SDSU and discussed what they were thankful for.

Assistant Vice President and Director of the Educational Opportunity Program Dr. Reginald Blaylock, embraced the opportunity to bring students together.

“Many of our students here tonight haven’t had a Thanksgiving dinner,” Blaylock said. “We’re going to celebrate and honor all our students and we want them to feel valued and appreciated.”

During the ceremony, awards are given to recognize those who help support the program. This year, Teresa and Darren Greenhalgh received awards for their contributions to the program.

The Guardian Scholars thanksgiving dinner has been held since 2009.

SociologyjuniorAshleyMelendez and psychology sophomore Tiffany Vargas are appreciative of the opportunity to celebrate with their fellow Guardian Scholars.

“The best part is that it brings everyone together,” Vargas said. “We reunite and get the chance to be thankful for each other and the support system we have.”