In a speech he delivered at our graduation celebration in 2018, Mt. Tahoma graduate Jesse recounted his first day moving into the dorms of his new school. “As I toted the bedding I brought from home, others were unloading brand new TVs. I had never felt so out of place.”
Jesse’s story isn’t uncommon.
Many college freshmen and their families take for granted the back-to-school shopping trip, loading their cart with brand new, brand name dorm accessories.
As an organization, we knew we couldn’t send our Scholars to their new colleges and universities only to have their first experience be one of otherness. Many college freshmen and their families take for granted the back-to-school shopping trip, loading their cart with brand new, brand name dorm accessories. We know a sense of belonging significantly increases our Scholars’ rate of persisting through graduation. In 2018, Palmer Cares was born.
In its inaugural year, Palmer Cares provided each of our rising college freshmen with a fully stocked dorm room kit, valued at $500. Our kits included bedding, school supplies, and even an Amazon tablet to help many of our Scholars take notes for their classes. We saw the weight lift from our Scholars’ shoulders. Many had been working all summer long just to afford the necessities for their dorm.
This year, we wanted to go one step further. Our Scholars deserve the opportunity to choose bedding based on their unique style just like their peers. Instead of pre-packaging dorm room kits, Palmer Cares packages included a backpack, school supplies, a laptop, and a $150 gift certificate for our Scholars to shop with their mentor or families.
As special as we know all of our Scholars are, we are excited for them to step onto their campus feeling “just like everyone else.”