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Fostering Academics, Mentoring Excellence

The School's FAME Program was named one of 15 Exemplary Youth Programs after a national search by the Center for the Study of Social Policy for its YouthThrive™ Program.

FAME is a resource center for foster youth alumni attending MSU as well as for youth who were in kinship care, have experienced homelessness, or are otherwise independent. FAME exists to provide support and resources to these students during their time at MSU to help them be successful during their collegiate experience on MSU's campus and during their transition to becoming MSU alumni.

Hear Andrea Martineau, FAME program coordinator, and Sharonda Chaney, MSU junior and FAME student, interviewed on WKAR, MSU's public radio station, on January 14, 2015, in their "Neighbors In Action" feature.

MSU FAME (formerly Foster Youth Alumni Services) was organized in 2007 by Dr. Angelique Day, herself an alumna of the foster care system. The program was created for two main reasons: to increase the educational outcomes of young people who age out of foster care and to ensure that once they are an MSU student they receive the support they need so that they graduate.

Andrea Martineau is program coordinator and lead life skills coach. In addition, there is a Part-time Associate Life Skills Coach and three social work interns on the team. Many university and community volunteers, agency professionals, and foster care alumni have contributed valuable time and resources to the program.

FAME is one of the School's Community Programs, all of which provide service, outreach, and teaching through field education placements, can serve as sites to develop best practices, and provide research opportunities to study program development and sustainability, among other topics.

Students in the spotlight:

MSU FAME student picking up supplies

Key resources include:

Coach Program

FAME is excited to be partnering with the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to provide a new support program to eligible former foster youth on Campus! The Coach Program provides students with a Life Skills Coach who will work with them during their time as a college student. Life Skills Coaches are part-time staff or social work interns. Coaches meet with students at least monthly and work with students on developing and improving Independent Living Skills, navigating campus and university resources, and provide a support system to help them thrive as college students. Students in the coaching program are also matched with a mentor for additional support and guidance. For more information, contact Andrea Martineau.


The FAME mentoring program matches current undergraduate FAME students with a volunteer mentor from the community. Efforts are made to match a student with a mentor currently employed in the student’s major or area of professional interest. Mentors and mentees form a relationship for a minimum of one year, averaging 4 hours of time commitment each month. The mentoring relationship consists of face-to-face meetings, in addition to telephone, email, and other social media mediums. Mentors serve as social, emotional and professional support for students as they navigate their academic, professional and personal goals on campus. Mentors are required to have a bachelor’s degree, be available for a minimum of 4 hours each month, complete an interview, reference and background check and participate in a mandatory training and orientation program. For more information or to learn about the process of becoming a mentor, email Ashley Hayden.

Finals Week Survival Kits

Each semester, during finals week we provide up to 40 FAME participants with a ‘Finals Week Survival Kit’. Each kit contains an assortment of personal care items, school supplies and snacks to help get them through the final push of the semester. Survival kits are gifted during a social event, offering the students a break from the stress and pressure of studying for exams and an opportunity to connect with their peers. Many of these students may not otherwise receive a care package or support and encouragement during the stress of final exams and this effort is successful not just because it meets a tangible need but because of the overwhelming emotional gratification and social support it provides to these students. Survival kits are 100% furnished through donated goods and funds. Many local religious organizations, on-campus departments, businesses and alumni groups regularly support this initiative. To find out how you or your group/organization can support this effort, contact Andrea Martineau.

First Year Success Program

Sponsored by a private gift, the First Year Success Program offers support to a selected group of first year students from Detroit. Participants in the First Year Success Program receive individualized support from the FAME program including a life skills coach, mentor, and access to ongoing FAME supports and services. Additionally, each student will receive a Freshman Starter Kit (valued at $475) including bedding, school supplies, and all of the essential items needed for an incoming college student. To be eligible students must be an incoming freshman and have experienced foster care, kinship care, legal guardianship or homelessness and must be residing in Wayne County at the time of their admittance to MSU. To apply to be a First Year Success Scholar for the 2017-18 academic year, contact Andrea Martineau.

Monthly Life Skills Training

Inspired by Casey Family Program’s 7 Life Domains model, The FAME Program offers monthly life skills workshops for students, highlighting a different life domain each month. Workshops are interactive, fun and informative and created specifically to address the needs of MSU students who have experienced foster care, kinship care, guardianship and homelessness. These trainings serve to help improve students’ knowledge and skill in particular areas that are crucial for healthy development, personal success and overall well-being.

FAME Care Closet

The FAME program furnishes a fully stocked care closet accessible to all eligible FAME students. The closet features personal care items, cleaning/household items, school supplies and some snacks/food items. Students are welcome to visit the FAME office during business hours and utilize needed items from the care closet. FAME regularly accepts donations of these items to keep the closet fully stocked. If you are interested in giving items to the care closet, contact Andrea Martineau.

MSU Website

The University's website operates as an information and referral service for former foster youth currently enrolled at MSU. Housed at and maintained by the Office of Financial Aid, the website is a means of communicating to students who register on the website for services.

FAME Student Activity Board

FAME students share their experiences with community partners on a foster youth alumni panel at a local conference.

The FAME Student Activity Board (SAB) was initiated in 2012. Students plan events, give input to FAME programming, and use advocacy and outreach to increase campus and community awareness of the program. SAB also provides leadership and public speaking opportunities for students. For more information or to get involved, contact Andrea Martineau.

Campus Champions

Campus Champions are individuals in various campus departments who have agreed to be the contact person and advocate for FAME students. FAME Campus Champions ensure that FAME students get answers to their questions, enabling them to navigate campus better and access campus resources easier. FAME has Campus Champions in Financial Aid, Housing, Family Resource Center, Employment, Tutoring, and more!

Campus Champion Jennifer Shappell, MSU Financial Aid Advisor,

presenting MSU Financial Aid information to community members who are involved with foster youth at the Fostering Success Michigan Conference at MSU's Kellogg Center.

Campus Champions can be accessed from the FAME Student Services website or through a referral from FAME staff. To find contact information for a Campus Champion in a specific department, contact any of the FAME staff.

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