Ferris State University Big Rapids MI College

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FYI: Ferris Youth Initiative

Woodbridge N. Ferris founded an institution of opportunity. Ferris State University has a long history of finding ways to help young people with limited resources obtain a top-flight education. We have proudly built on this history to create the Ferris Youth Initiative (FYI) to reach out to low-income orphans and to young people who have aged out of foster care systems. This initiative is one example of how our students, faculty, and staff continue to accept Mr. Ferris’ challenge “to make the world a better place.”


To positively impact the lives of foster care youth and low-income orphans who attend Ferris State University. The Ferris Youth Initiative program is designed to provide support and learning opportunities throughout the student’s academic career by incorporating academic success, character development and positive approaches to their holistic well-being.


  • For FYI students to successfully complete a college degree.
  • To provide intentional academic guidance and support services to FYI students.
  • To help students build character and life skills in preparation for the world of work.
  • To provide intentional mentoring between FYI students and Ferris faculty and staff.
  • To assist students in developing effective coping strategies, that aid in enhancing their self-confidence and overall likelihood of success.

Camellia Network: The Challenge We Face video

Ferris Youth Initiative

Contact Information

Janette Ward
FYI Coordinator of Independent Living

Nicholas Campau
Student Affairs/Assistant Program Advisor

David Pilgrim
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion/
FYI Program Advisor

Krissy Workman
Financial Aid Coordinator and FYI Scholarship Advisor

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