Temple College has received a $60,000 grant from the Temple Industrial Foundation to help fund a new social worker position at the college.
The need to have a social worker on campus was identified in 2018 as a priority for the college. Since then, the college has received two different grants to help make the position a reality. The college also received a Perkins Leadership Grant to cover a portion of the position for two years.
Hiring a social worker is one of the first steps the college is taking as part of its new Circle of Support initiative, which is modeled after the No Excuses Poverty Initiative at Amarillo College in Amarillo, Texas. The new program is designed to help students with non-academic needs such as childcare, food, housing, mental healthcare and transportation that may be keeping them from meeting their educational goals.
While the college already has a mental health counselor on staff, she did not feel qualified to address issues such as childcare and housing that would be better handled by a social worker.
The social worker will be located in a new area in the student union building that has been designated as the Circle of Support Student Resource Center. The area also includes a food pantry, a clothing closet, and an office where students can apply for emergency loans.
Brent Colwell, a music professor with a passion for helping students, is spearheading the new Circle of Support initiative with the assistance of a Faculty Development Leave Grant.
“Across the country, college students are increasingly having social needs that interfere with their likelihood of academic success,” Colwell said. “Having a social worker on campus will enable our students to find resources in the community that will help meet their needs.”