The University Friends Circle is proud to support UC Merced's Guardian Scholars program, a sustainable network of academic and personal support services at UC Merced that promote degree attainment for youth who have experienced the foster care system and/or homelessness. Each summer, UFC members gather materials and donations to create welcome packages for new UCM students who are in the Guardian Scholars program. These packages students receive in August include academic and personal items the students might not be able to obtain themselves, including complete bedding packs (mattress covers, sheets, blankets, pillows), toiletries, study supplies, and snacks. The highlight of each package is a unique, homemade quilt by a member of Merced's Gateway Quilters' Guild. The quilts are distributed separately at the yearly "Cocoa & Quilts" event.