Who We Are
The Steve Hicks School prepares students for careers as professional social workers committed to public service in nonprofits, government, education, business, and higher education. Our mission is to provide national leadership to promote social and economic justice, alleviate critical social problems, and enhance human well-being.
What We’re Fundraising For
The Social Work Education Enhancement Program (SWEEP) supports undergraduate social work students along their paths to becoming professional social workers through inclusive community building, mentorship, collaboration and information sharing. To further enhance this program, we're fundraising for mentor and mentee scholarships for students who show commitment to the social work field, work towards expanding their leadership skills, and show financial need.
Spark Program: In the United States, less than 2% of people who have been in the foster care system have the opportunity to go to college. Once enrolled, they often lack the support to reach graduation day. Spark is a program that works to improve enrollment and graduation rates for Longhorns who are foster care alumni. Situated at the Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing, Spark supports current and former foster youth build meaningful skills and relationships, to ensure that the forty acres are a place where they thrive.
We are raising $20,000 toward Spark Camp, our 4th annual opportunity for Texas adolescents in foster care to learn about UT. This year we are taking Spark Camp virtual and plan to host up to 100 campers. One of the big advantages to a virtual camp experience is that prospective students who otherwise could not visit campus in person can still join us. At Spark Camp, future Longhorns will build connections and community, network with former foster youth, and receive a Camp in a Box to further their camp experience.
Being able to give financial help in addition to our program’s curriculum would be an amazing opportunity to increase our impact we have on our future change-makers. We support student’s goals, passions and needs; that is why these funds will go towards exactly this. "UT has so many available resources waiting to be used by students, but there is sometimes a lack of exposure to these programs for first-year Social Work students. SWEEP ensures each one knows everything that UT has to offer and answers all their questions."As a student mentor in SWEEP, I have seen the positive impact the program has on our first-year social work students both academically and personally. It is a unique safe space that offers support, leadership skills, workshops, and community building for both mentors and mentees. I am grateful that we have such an amazing program that allows me to share my knowledge, learnings, and experiences at UT with other student leaders!" - Maria de Los Angeles Villarreal, BSW student
We know that when prospective students come to Spark Camp, they are more likely to choose college as their path forward. As we endeavor to create a community that provides the support foster alumni need to successfully graduate from UT, we are asking you to join us. Your gift ensures that adolescents across Texas who are in the foster care system can envision themselves as Longhorns.
Many adolescents who grow up in the foster care system have received repeated messaging that college is not for them. We are here to change that. At Spark Camp, prospective students take a big step toward becoming students who can navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with being in college. At Spark, we know that our students have what it takes to be successful. But no one succeeds alone. Every successful Longhorn has the backing of a caring community of friends and family who provide the financial and emotional support necessary to begin, and, ultimately, stay the course. In order to make-up lack those connections in foster care, Spark ensures that the 40 acres become that community for them--a place where Spark students thrive.
Making your gift to Spark Camp 2021 will be your opportunity to spark the educational possibilities of a future longhorn and become a part of the support system for youth in foster care. Your gift tells our future Spark students, “I believe in you.”
“Honestly, without the Spark program I would not be able to finish my college degree, much less on a track like I am now – even applying to graduate school next year here at UT.” - Spark participant