West Chester, Pa. (WTXF) - Like most college campuses it’s quiet during the holidays at West Chester University. Students are at home celebrating with family, but not all students have that luxury.
“During the school year I’m here like a regular student. I pay for the regular housing, but when school gets out I worry," Patricia Curley told FOX 29.
Patricia looks like most students at West Chester. Nothing would tip you off that she faces challenges that most of her friends never will.
“It was hard, I had a family that gave up on me and terminated adoption. I came from Romania so I came a long way. I was just placed in foster home after foster home," she explained.
No family here, on scholarship, so when school shuts down for breaks she’s one of many who would end up essentially homeless. A population that until relatively recently West Chester didn’t really even know they had. When they found out Tori Nuccio, Assistant Director of Financial Aid, says the Promise Program was born.
“Our students don’t have to go home for winter break and they don’t have to try to find a place to stay for the summer. We welcome them here year-round," she said.
Year-round housing, campus shuttles and a free pantry. Many Promise Program students were still alone without a real Christmas until football coach Bill Zwaan heard what was going on.
“I had just found out that we had some homeless kids at West Chester so I mentioned it to my family and the jumped right in,” he said.
His family decided they would forego their own gifts and instead provide gifts to the Promise students.
“I just kinda got up at a meeting at Student Services and mentioned the idea well people just jumped all over that.”