Rockwell Hall

Educational Opportunity Program Dedicates EOP Fund in Memoriam

The EOP Fund, a departmental fund for the Arthur O. Eve Educational Opportunity Program, will be renamed the Jaelah Yannis Jenkins EOP Fund, in honor of the late daughter of director Yanick Jenkins, during a ceremony at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, February 27, in the Campbell Student Union Fireside Lounge.

Jaelah passed away in 2007, at age 10, from a Jaelah Jenkinsbrain tumor. EOP staff members hope her memory will live on through the fund, which supports EOP staff and the 877 students they serve.

“Jaelah was a free spirit with a can-do attitude,” Jenkins said. “She wanted to go to college one day.”

“Jaelah was the type of person who was always willing to listen and be positive,” added Erica Murphy, a junior-year social work major who is helping to plan the event as EOP’s work-study student.

The EOP Fund provides support for students, activities, and other expenses. EOP has additional funds within the annual Faculty and Staff Appeal, but they are for specific needs, such as scholarships.

The campus community and friends of EOP may donate to the newly named Jaelah Yannis Jenkins EOP Fund through the Faculty and Staff Appeal or are welcome to make an independent donation at any time. More than $1,500 is donated to the fund each year, and Jenkins hopes that amount will increase.

EOP staff members attribute the EOP Fund at least in part to the continued success of the program. Since the fund’s inception in 2005, student retention rates have improved, and the number of students on academic probation has decreased.

“The EOP Fund improves the quality of our program,” Jenkins said. “It means the difference between one student or four students being able to attend a conference.” She said she hopes tomorrow’s event will reintroduce the EOP Fund to the campus and that its renaming will provide a “reenergized renewal.”

Tomorrow’s ceremony will include inspirational poetry readings, a short DVD presentation, and a performance by the Buffalo State College Chamber Choir. Refreshments will be served. The Alumni Affairs Office will provide giveaways, and members of the Buffalo State cheerleading team will volunteer at the event in honor of Jaelah, who was also a cheerleader.

“Jaelah wanted to be a writer when she grew up and spent a lot of time at our office,” Jenkins said. “All the EOP staff and students got to know her so well. We’re one big family—in the sense of a larger community.”

All are welcome to attend tomorrow’s ceremony, but reservations are recommended; please call Mary Ann Osborne at 878-4225.