When a child in foster care turns 18, they “age out”. Any resources that had been available to them previously for housing, food, and other basic care disappears. According to a comprehensive study last year, former foster kids are more likely to end up in jail, homeless or pregnant and less likely to have a job or go to college.
Several programs around the United States are working to give teens aging out of foster care the resources they need to make a fresh start. Connected by 25 in Florida and The Serpentine Project in California are two organizations working with foster youth after they age out. Partnered for Success is hoping to provide teens in foster care the resources they need before they age out.
Nicollette Lewis and Priya Nathan met at Arizona State University and recently won the ASU Innovation Challenge and $1,000 to build a pilot program for the fall. They are also one of the featured projects on StartSomeGood and looking to raise enough money to be able to established Partnered for Success as a nonprofit and help more teenagers in the fall.
Lewis is an orphan, who was raised by family members, and knows first-hand the struggles that those without parents face when they enter post-high school world of adulthood. Partnered for Success is working with Arizona Friends of Foster Children and Phoenix Youth at Risk to partner teens at risk with ASU students. In addition to one-on-one mentoring, the group will organize community service projects and also connect the youth to resources that will help them prepare for college or a career.
While working with EMQ FamiliesFirst in California, a nonprofit that helps children in crisis, I saw first hand how important mentors could be in the life of an at-risk teen. Oftentimes, especially for teens that might have several foster care homes in high school, mentors were the only stable adult in a teen’s life.
You can help Partnered for Success by donating to their project on StartSomeGood. They want to raise enough money by the end of May to successfully launch their pilot program in the fall.
Photo credit: via Flickr by SiliconManiacs