Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
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
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 makeover for two people who have aged out of foster care who have two young children; 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, the home makeover couple and other youth aging out of foster care. With that experience under its belt, JLRI is now in the process of setting up implementation of the project.
Members have been given the opportunity to state an area of need they are interested in assisting in (resume writing, interviewing skills, student loan/college application help, tenant rights, apartment hunting, amongst others). JLRI will be contacted to provide volunteer support when a young person needs help in one or more of those areas.
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 have held multiple Home Makeovers for youth aging out of foster care and their families, collecting furniture, linens, beds, kitchen essentials, cleaning supplies, clothing, etc. We are in the process of applying for grants to help cover the costs of transportation of these items to the Home Makeover locations.
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.
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.
Articles of Interest on the Subject
Not Just Another Teen Mom: Foster Care Child Graduates from College Debt Free, May 2016
Supporting Youth Transitioning out of Foster Care, Issue Brief 1: Education Programs, February 2015
Child Poverty in Rhode Island, January 2015
Kaine introduces Senate bill to encourage foster families, March 2015
President’s Advisory Council Continues Work on Financial Capability for Young People, March 2015
Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative
The Junior League of Rhode Island has formed successful partnerships with the following organizations and service agencies.
Amos House Mother and Child Reunification
Casey Family Services
Parkinson’s Walk Food Bank
Providence Preservation Society
Red Cross Gala Event – Newport RI
Pawtucket Pride Day
Providence Animal Rescue League
Sophia Academy School Supply Collection
St. Anthony House Food Collection / Donation
The Rhode Island Community Food Bank
Tomorrow Fund – Family Day Picnic
A more detailed history of the Junior League of Rhode Island’s history of community service can be found here.