Two years ago, we started our Palmer Cares program. Palmer Cares is a two-pronged program aimed to better serve our Scholars once they head off to their postsecondary program. For rising college freshmen, this program provides a fully-stocked dorm room kit. We have found the services we provide our continuing college Scholars to be integral to their persistence through to graduation.
Whether it’s finances or family situations, there is a myriad of reasons why Scholars aren’t able to come home for school breaks. For our Scholars on the eastern side of the state especially, this isolation leads to homesickness, grades begin to fall, and soon Scholars consider dropping out and returning home to Tacoma. This is why our staff visit each Scholar twice a year to meet for a one-on-one conversation and bring Scholars from each school together for a meal.
While we keep in contact with our Scholar throughout the year, our Palmer Cares campus visits allow us to go deeper with our Scholars. We harness the multi-year commitment we make to serving each Scholar to create a culture of trust. Though our Scholars tell us about their lives in and out of the classroom through our online surveys, the in-person visits are where the true struggles come out. From family issues to not having access to food, we are able to identify the resources to meet every Scholars’ needs, even if all we can do is make the note to call a Scholar once a week to check-in, we are already seeing results in the form of deeper relationships and enhanced trust.
This year, 96% of first-year college Scholars persisted to their second year of college. This is typically the point when most dropouts occur. As our Scholars embark on their first journey into adulthood, it is imperative that we are ready to help whenever and however they may need it!
This post has been sponsored by the University of Puget Sound.