New SIL Program at TAMIU Serves Foster Care Young Adults
This Spring Semester at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) features a new and special welcome for Foster Care young adult students.
The University now has in place a Supervised Independent Living (SIL) Program, a voluntary Extended Foster Care placement which enables young adult students to live on their own while still getting casework and support services to help them become independent and self-sufficient.
The program’s launch was recently announced at a special day-long TAMIU event which welcomed potential SIL Program participants with various information sessions, a luncheon with TAMIU partners and a guided campus tour.
TAMIU is the latest campus of The Texas A&M University System that the Department of Family and Protective Services has partnered with to provide an SIL program within campus residence halls.
The program is sweeping in possibilities, providing eligible students with a tuition and fee waiver, federal Pell grant, educational training voucher and room and board.
TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz welcomed guests and special guest speaker Judge Selina Mireles, Associate Judge of the Child Protection Court in Laredo for Webb, Zapata, Duval, and Jim Hogg counties, who provided luncheon guests with a powerful affirmation about the importance of education and the life-changes possible with the SIL program.
“A college education will allow you to choose a career instead of having a job chosen for you. It will help you to choose the hours you wish to be employed, the conditions you will work in, and your opportunities for growth. With SIL, the State of Texas is showing it believes in you. By making these opportunities possible, Child Protective Services (CPS) and TAMIU give you the chance to believe in yourself…and you deserve it,” Mireles told attendees.
TAMIU Welcomes SIL Program
This Spring Semester, Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) is ready to welcome Foster Care young adult students with the launch of the Supervise Independent Living (SIL) Program in partnership with the Department of Family and Protective Services. Joining in the program announcement with potential students from across South Texas are, left to right: Dr. Minita Ramírez, TAMIU vice president for Student Success; Gina González, associate vice president for Student Success and foster care liaison; guest speaker Judge Selina Mireles, associate judge of the Child Protection Court in Laredo for Webb, Zapata, Duval, and Jim Hogg counties; Dr. Pablo Arenaz, TAMIU president; Tara O’Connell, regional director of Child Protective Services, Region 11 and David Halpern, The Texas A&M University System assistant general counsel.
Tara O’Connell, regional director of CPS, Region 11, thanked the University for its partnership and noted that all Foster Care adults share a common yearning to live independently and make their own decisions.
“We want you to feel supported, and this program does just that…and helps you transition to adulthood. Most of all, we want you to know we’re not done when you’re 18..we want you to succeed and be happy,” O’Connell said.
In addition to the young adults, proud advocates and partners joined in the program launch.
David Halpern, Texas A&M University System assistant general counsel, shared his personal perspective and educational journey and noted that an A&M University System alum helped plant the seed to bring the SIL program to the System.
The University’s Foster Care Liaison is Gina González, associate vice president for Student Success. She said SIL Program participants can also tap into a rich font of additional services.
“We have a multitude of resources here at TAMIU to help students to be successful academically, financially and socially. There’s a freshman seminar class that helps students learn and use campus resources to engage in their academic major, a range of support services, emergency grant aid, workstudy opportunities, an on campus food pantry, career closet and additional scholarship assistance.
The program is available to eligible students this Spring at TAMIU.
For SIL Program information, contact González at firstname.lastname@example.org , call 956.326.2206 or visit offices in the Student Center, 226.
For more information from the Department of Family and Protective Services, contact John Lennan, Region 11 media specialist at 326.878.7488 or email John.Lennan @dfps.state.tx.us
Throughout 2020, TAMIU is celebrating its 50th Anniversary and its 25th Anniversary at its north Laredo campus. A dedicated website shares the University’s transformation from a hybrid upper-level university to a full doctoral degree-granting University enrolling over 8,400 students with over 29,000 graduates worldwide. It includes a calendar of Anniversary events and more at tamiu.edu/50.
For more on the University’s story, contact the TAMIU Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 956.326.2180, email email@example.com, click on tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268.