CSUSM Director of ACE Scholars Services Honored for Service to Children


Media Contact: Margaret Lutz | mlutz@csusm.edu

Jim Mickelson, director of ACE Scholars Services at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), will be honored in Houston by CHILDREN AT RISK, a nonprofit organization that drives change for children through research, education, and influencing public policy, for his role as one of the organization's founding board member. Mickelson was also the founding CEO of CHILDREN AT RISK, a position he maintained until 1999.  The award ceremony will take place on October 20, 2009 at the InterContinental Houston Discovery Center in Houston, Texas.

The Houston Chronicle once labeled Mickelson as "the most persistent child advocate in Houston." As a social worker, it is clear that his commitment to advocating for the well-being of children is far reaching.

In 1989, Mickelson helped bring together a group of child advocates to discuss the lack of documentation on the status of children and the absence of strong public policy support for Houston's children. Together, they formed CHILDREN AT RICK and produced ten major publications focusing on critical children's issues, published biennially.

As CEO of the organization for ten years, Mickelson was instrumental in moving CHILDREN AT RISK forward from an organization based on researching the multiple obstacles that children face to an organization that drives macro-level change to better the future of youth in Texas and beyond.  He left the position in 1999 but remains an honorary board member of CHILDREN AT RISK.

"It's a real treat to be honored," said Mickelson, "Twenty years ago, we founded CHILDREN AT RISK in order to fill a much needed gap in information and a voice for children. Today, that effort has translated into helping thousands of children."

Today, as director of ACE Scholars Services at CSUSM, Mickelson focuses his efforts on helping local foster youth get into college and succeed. Even though 70 percent of foster youth desire a college experience, data shows that nationally only half of them even get a high school degree. Of those who do, only 3 percent end up on a university campus and only half of that population succeeds in earning a four-year degree.

ACE Scholars Services provides the support and guidance that foster youth need to graduate college, offering support, guidance, encouragement, and counseling on anything from housing to financial aid.

"Foster youth qualify for financial aid but it's the support, guidance and encouragement that make the program a success," said Mickelson. "No other university in the nation had developed a program that guarantees admission to foster youth." 

Mickelson has co-authored with Dr. Karen S. Haynes the text book Affecting Change: Social Workers in the Political Arena, now in its sixth edition.

About ACE Scholars Services

ACE Scholars Services is a comprehensive program that supports former foster youth in their efforts to obtain a college education at California State University San Marcos. The primary objective of the program is to meet the unique needs of student who are former foster youth and to improve their rates of matriculation, graduation, and career success.

About California State University San Marcos

California State University San Marcos combines the ambiance of a mid-sized, personal, modern campus with the unequaled value of the California State University. Since its founding in 1989, the campus has distinguished itself. Students benefit from the latest facilities and equipment, a superb faculty that enjoys teaching, and a rigorous academic program that prepares students for a successful life in and out of the workplace. A recent survey reported that our annual spending in the region was $161 million, generating a total impact of $307 million on the regional economy. 85 percent of CSUSM's alumni stay in the region. CSU San Marcos is located on a 304-acre hillside overlooking the city of San Marcos. It is fifteen miles east of the ocean; just thirty miles north of downtown San Diego.