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Nov. 16 Celebration to Benefit Guardian Scholars

Nov. 16 Celebration to Benefit Guardian Scholars

A $50,000 gift from Sleep Train will support the UC Riverside program for students who have aged out of foster care.

(November 3, 2010)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Guardian Scholars, a UC Riverside program that supports students who have aged out of the foster-care system, has received a $50,000 gift from Sleep Train, a Sacramento-based mattress retailer.

The program, which currently serves 13 students, will hold its third annual celebration on Tuesday, Nov. 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Barn on campus. The event will feature speakers, performers, music and dancing. Admission is free, although donations are welcome. Parking costs $5. Dinner and drinks will be available for purchase.

Guardian Scholars provides scholarships, life coaching, mentors, housing and personalized attention to youth who have aged out of foster care.

Sleep Train has supported foster youth for many years, said Tuppett Yates, an assistant professor of psychology who is leading the UCR Guardian Scholars effort. This year the company focused on emancipating youth and targeted programs that help them access higher education in California.

The funds will be used to support the needs of students in the UCR program, including books, food, housing and other expenses. “For example, we are flying one of our seniors to northern California for a daylong campus visit and interview with a graduate program because she wants to earn a master’s in social work,” Yates said.

UCR Guardian Scholars launched in fall 2008 with four students and likely will grow to about 40 students, depending on funding, by fall 2012. Eligible youth must have aged out of foster care and enter UCR prior to age 25.

“This gift begins to address the pressing needs of our youth, but we continue to seek support because the average Guardian Scholar needs $5,000 each year to cover their basic educational and living expenses,” Yates said.

A steering committee of UCR faculty and staff oversees the program, which arranges year-round housing in campus residence halls or apartments, provides summer jobs, and offers personalized financial aid, student learning support and other specialized resources as needed. Program supporters also attend to other student needs ranging from budgeting, to mental health service access, “to making sure they are getting basic medical and dental care, and checking in about academic, friendship and other important decisions,” Yates said.

“All of us do this because we have a tremendous respect for these youth and a well-supported conviction that a little bit can take these youth a long way towards successful and satisfying futures,” she said.

For more information contact Yates at (951) 827-4991 or To make a contribution, make checks payable to UC Foundation, GS Foster Youth Fund, and send them to Jan Opdyke at 900 University Ave., 1100 Hinderaker Hall, Riverside, CA 92521, or contact her at, (951) 827-5676.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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