Cowley College Foster Parent Program

Adjusting to college life can be a challenge for any student. Add on the stress of competing for a nationally ranked athletic team and moving to a new community far away from family and friends, and you have a student who needs a foster family!

The Cowley College Foster Parent Program is designed to meet these needs.

Many of the Cowley athletes come from different states and even other countries and do not have the ability to have relatives or friends nearby. It’s a lonely feeling. That is why the Foster Parent Program exists. It provides a bridge for the student athlete to connect with the Cowley community and builds wonderful, lasting relationships.

Foster parents provide the occasional home cooked meal and general emotional support to the Tiger athletes who are far away from their families.

The Cowley program has been in existence for several years and continues to be a life-changing experience for all involved.

Comments from the athletes:

“My foster family attended my games ?it was awesome to have their support”

“Having a home-cooked meal was the BEST THING EVER”

“When I was feeling lonely, it was great to look into the stands and see some friendly faces”

“I got to go to my ?little brothers’ birthday party ? it was nice to be included”

“I was really homesick at the beginning of school ? having my foster family made me feel better”

Comments from the foster families:

“Having our “son” was great ? we enjoyed watching him compete and succeed”

“I was recently invited to the wedding of a former player ? she was such a special kid...she will forever be in our lives”

“I feel blessed to have known all the students I met through the program ? it enriched my life”

“I was a little worried if I would have the time to give to the program, but soon discovered that anything I was able to do was VERY much appreciated and made a difference”

“Our family adopted two players and it worked out great ? they had each other AND they had us”

“My athlete was such a great role model for my younger children?it was an amazing experience for our entire family”

Fostering Ideas

Invite student-athlete into your home for an occasional meal

Be accessible for student-athlete ? allow them to contact you for emotional support.

Acclimate student-athlete to community when possible

Support student-athlete at their athletic events or school functions

On special events like birthdays, holidays, or game days ? provide a treat or a note

Send a note/text to the athlete about their accomplishments


Keep us informed if you have questions or concerns

Send in photos for the foster family website

Help with resource connections (assist them in making connections for Cowley tutoring, counseling, trainer, etc.)

Encourage athletes to use the “chain of command” (coach then AD) for issues with their sport.

And remember: The philosophy of the program is that ANYTHING you can do is helpful -- whether it be a lot of involvement or a little. The Starfish Story is a great reminder of this...

The Starfish Story

Original Story by: Loren Eisley

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, What are you doing?

The youth replied, Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die. Son, the man said, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference! After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said, I made a difference for that one.


If you would like to join the Cowley College Foster Parent Program or have more questions about the program, please contact Ali Nittler at or 620.441.5268.

...there is a tiger waiting for YOUR family.