College Plus – Grant goes a long way toward…

Written on by Valerie Melroy

College Plus received a grant earlier this month from the Joseph Jocelino Gaskill Education Fund through The Philadelphia Foundation in the amount of $3,411.50. The fund was established in 2010 by Joseph and Almerinda Gaskill in honor of their late son Joseph. Each year this fund helps Voice and Vision’s College Plus Initiative to fund and support people who have mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders go to college and live out their college/career dreams. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Gaskill for your ongoing generous donation!

The Joseph Jocelino Gaskill Education Fund is used to assist students with the cost of tuition and books and support from peer mentors. With this grant and money through a contract with the Bucks County Department of Mental Health and Developmental Programs, Voice and Vision has helped over 150 people attend classes at Bucks County Community College since 2008. Most students start by taking one course, while participating in College Plus peer mentoring and support services. College Plus is privileged to hear so many success stories from the students, such as: students finding direction, attaining goals, finding jobs, developing careers, graduating and more. We want you to meet some of the students and hear the stories too, so we hope you’ll join us at the College Plus 10th-year celebration in 2018. More information on the celebration will come out soon!

At the end of each semester, the Consumer/Family Satisfaction Team conducts a survey with the College Plus students from that semester. Here are some results from the survey with students who attended the spring and fall 2016 semesters:

• 80% stated that College Plus helped improve their mental health
• 80% stated that College Plus helped improve their lives
• 100% would recommend College Plus to others
• Overall, the College Plus students are satisfied with the supports they receive through the program. Students reported the hope and encouragement they receive gave them confidence to pursue their goals.

Quotes from some of the students who participated in the survey:

    • “College Plus gave me self-confidence, the feeling I could do something significant and complete it.”
    • “College Plus increased my confidence and happiness. Having their support and talking with them helped me not stress out.”
    • “There is a lot of support involved with College Plus and it’s a good way to connect with others… it removes the financial anxiety.”
    • “I’m happy with the College Plus program. I was nervous going back to school, but College Plus gives all the support to go, when you doubt whether or not you can do it.”
Please consider donating to this worthy cause so we can help additional students live out their dreams and create more success stories!! All gifts are tax deductible. Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

Victory Photograph taken by Jacquelyn Thomas

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About Kathryn

Kathryn Lerro

Hi, I’m Kathryn Lerro, mother of two lovely daughters, wife of one fine man.

After 24 years of wandering (thanks to my husband’s Air Force career), we are back home on the East Coast. We currently live in Philadelphia where I enjoy writing, taking long walks, decorating my front window in South Philly tradition, talking to interesting people and eating great food.

As I’ve met people on my travels I’ve become keenly aware that most of us could use a healthy dose of encouragement. It is for this reason that I try to weave a message of hope into everything I write.

About Mindy

Mindy Haas

Hi, I am Melinda Haas, but you can call me Mindy.   A true introvert, I delight in solitude with a good book or a movie.  I like dabbling in nature photography while taking rigorous hikes.  I adore my husband who is a ton of fun.  He shares my wanderlust as well as my appetite for Indian and Thai food.  Very often, you’ll find us dancing to Cumbia in the kitchen while we make dinner.   We also love road tripping and exploring new places. (New England is our new favorite!)

Through my writing, I want to encourage and embolden others to push past the limits they place on themselves.  I want to help people see that they can accomplish more than they think they were capable of.

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