Homeless for some time as a teen, Toree Baldwin (School of Kinesiology Class of 2020) had not spent more than nine months in the same place since age 12, until she received a scholarship to the University of Michigan.
In high school, her growing passion for engineering, research, and medicine piqued her interest in U-M’s College of Engineering and School of Kinesiology. But when it came time to apply, Toree was concerned about affording the application fee, let alone getting in or the costs of attending.
Toree was awarded a Blavin Scholarship, made possible by generous support from Paul (BBA ’86) and Amy Blavin. The Blavin Scholars Program and Scholarship supports students formerly in foster care or homeless. Beyond financial support, Blavin Scholars are paired with mentors who help foster a positive environment at U-M by helping them to build life skills beyond the classroom, such as filing taxes or buying a car.
“It’s not just a check that I got one time for filling out an essay,” Toree said. “It’s something that, because of my background and my past, I have an opportunity to really make the most of my experience here.”
Having spent most of her life in a “survivor mentality,” constantly wondering where she would eat and sleep each night, Toree can now finally prioritize her academic success as she strives to join the intraoperative neuromonitoring program in the School of Kinesiology.
The support Toree received has already inspired her to pay it forward as a community volunteer and by serving as an example to other foster kids or homeless youth through the Blavin Scholars Program community outreach initiative.
“You’re able to tell these kids, ‘I got into college and you can too,’” Toree said. “You realize you are now in a place where you can give back. This is the feeling that I always thought college would have.”