Youth Aging Out of the Foster Care System
Foster Care Awareness Forum, November 2016:
The Junior League of Rhode Island, Inc. (JLRI), in partnership with Rhode Island College, will hold a Foster Care Awareness Forum in November 2016 at Rhode Island College. The forum, which will be held in the evening, promises to be an exciting event to raise awareness around the challenges facing foster youth in Rhode Island and nationally. We anticipate charging a small fee for entry into the forum to cover costs, but the forum is not intended to be a fundraiser.
The forum will provide sponsors an opportunity to meet in a small venue with all speakers.
The Junior League of Rhode Island, Inc. (JLRI) recognizes foster youth aging out of the foster care system face distinct challenges and seeks to positively affect their intellectual, economic, social, mental, physical and emotional well-being. The League will support efforts to ensure that these individuals have services and opportunities for educational attainment, employment, health care, housing and financial stability. Additionally, the JLRI is committed to advocating for the welfare of all foster children and to educating its membership and greater community on this broader issue.
Timeline of Project Implementation:
After years of assisting other organizations with their volunteer efforts and projects, the Junior League of Rhode Island (JLRI) voted on their own project in 2012: assisting those that have aged out of foster care. Starting in 2013, JLRI started researching the subject and working with other organizations in the state to show JLRI members what the project would look like. With the help of some premier organizations in the state, JLRI was able to set up several opportunities for members to get involved in (Home makeovers, Monthly dinners and mentoring discussions with the girls at St. Mary’s Home for Children in North Providence (a long-time community partner), Thanksgiving baskets, Christmas gifts and Easter baskets to the girls at St. Mary’s). With this experience the JLRI is now in the process of setting up implementation of the project.
The Junior League of Rhode Island has several community projects that integrate the philosophy and the spirit of the JLRI mission by empowering the lives of young adults aging out of the foster care system through direct assistance and by providing mentoring and training in the life skills necessary to bring out their best.
We continue to work on the Home Makeovers for youth aging out of foster care and their families, collecting furniture, linens, beds, kitchen essentials, etc. We are in the process of writing grants to receive money for a storage facility for all the items we are collecting and transportation of these items to the homes.
In partnership with Fidelity and Junior Achievement, JLRI volunteers will help teach youth aging out of foster care basic financial skills to help prepare them for independence and personal success. JLRI Members have received Foster Youth Skills Help training provided by Junior Achievement representative on how to present/teach various skills to foster youth. This particular training was held in anticipation of the financial literacy event which the JLRI will offer to youth as part of our project. Future skills help sessions may include more financial literacy, work preparedness, entrepreneurship, etc.
JLRI has also hosted Dinner and Activity Nights with St. Mary’s Home for Children, distributed Holiday Food Baskets and held Professional/Maternity Clothing Drives which all benefit the youth aging out of foster care.
Click on the below link to view a short clip provided by Foster Forward for the Real Connections training. In this video, young people discuss their experiences in Foster Care:
Articles of Interest on the Subject:
Amos House is a comprehensive social service agency that helps individuals attain greater self-sufficiency by providing food, shelter, job training, and employment opportunities. The Junior League of Rhode Island partners with Amos House to support its new Mother-Child Reunification Program. This unique project provides housing and ongoing parenting support, peer counseling, childcare, educational workshops, and social activities for the women and children reuniting in a safe, healthy environment. For more information about the program, click here.