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Pepperdine Community Supports Foster Students on Giving Tuesday

On November 30, 2021, the Pepperdine community of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends joined the world in the annual celebration of generosity known as Giving Tuesday. This year, the community rallied to support Pepperdine’s Horizon Scholars Program, which provides resources to current and former foster youth students at each of Pepperdine’s five schools as they fulfill their goals in higher education.

“There are already so many barriers for foster youth that higher education seems incredibly out of reach,” shares former foster youth and Seaver College student Joshua Elizondo. “Without donors supporting programs such as these, access to my dream school would not have been possible.”

For nearly eight years, the Horizon Scholars Program, led by Deborah Armstrong, associate director of financial assistance, has empowered current and former foster youth to achieve academic success in higher education through support services, mentorship, and financial assistance. Currently, the program serves 25 students across Pepperdine’s five schools, with 15 students qualifying for Tier 1 support including loan forgiveness. Elizondo, an active voice advocating for foster youth in the California policy and community college spheres, not only found financial assistance through the Horizon Scholars Program but also community and connection. 

Over the last year, the program has seen tremendous growth after partnering with AmeriCorps to fund a mentor focused on outreach to foster youth in neighboring high schools and community colleges and to help them navigate pursuing higher education. After Giving Tuesday, the program saw more than 55 new donors commit their financial support to Horizon Scholars, allowing the program to continue to grow its portfolio of support services. 

“With the community’s support, I am looking forward to continuing to partner in building the foster youth community here at Pepperdine, so students, no matter where they come from, feel they belong at our university,” says Elizondo. 

To learn more about the Horizon Scholars Program, visit their website.