Author Topic: Empowering young people who are aging out of foster care - looking for feedback  (Read 2214 times)

ksfrank

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My son is in his early 30's and well on his way to FI.  His wife supports this goal 100% and they are quite a team.  One of my son's goals is to use his wealth to create a program for other young men who need mentors and hands-on type training in self-sufficiency, trouble shooting life's problems and knowing when and what direction to turn to overcome all the challenges that pull others' down.  He is that rare employee in his age group who knows how to get difficult shit done and is fearless at it.  He is rewarded and promoted, etc.  He walked out of the school at age 16, got his GED and never looked back.

His wife is a social worker.  They want to create a small non-profit maybe, or just a rental complex that fills some gaps.  Lately, the talk is about a small complex where they would recruit renters who are young men aging out of foster care.  Or maybe taking it back one step and catching them as 15-16 year olds and operating it as group housing.  So, they would screen for those who want to/are able to learn the badassity type life skills and take power over their own lives.  There would be a short window of opportunity in time for these young people to get power over money and stand on their own. 

A requirement would be that they also give back by mentoring a younger person in foster care system - taking power by becoming part of the solution rather than the role they receive as "the problem".

Of course, jobs are scarce in this area.  And we're somewhat rural.  Transportation is a challenge.  My son is excellent at recruiting and bringing in older people who are fun and have interesting life skills they would share.  My daughter is licensed, etc. and connected to the state's foster care system/legal/safety, etc. 

Foster kids who are aging out do receive some state benefits for a short time - to help with the costs of transitioning.  We're wondering if that small pool of support could be maximized by a more concentrated effort to teach those life skills and get them to a place of empowerment before the support drops off.  Also, to give them a bit of peer network.   And the voice in helping those coming up behind them.

Anyone know of a similar program?  Any feedback or thoughts?  Any youth training programs already out there that follow mustachian type philosophies?  One positive is that these kids are starting with nothing - so the parental support isn't clouding their drive or vision.  They know the odds are against them.  The daily life skills they've learned from immersion in the system - probably not that many good role models in their experiences so far.  Maybe we'll find out differently.  But, many of them are moved from home to home throughout their childhood - with no good root system.

I'm a fundraising/grant writer.  Got to dust off the old skills a bit - but I feel like this one could gel up.  It would have several streams of revenue with the rental/state short term financial support/possible funders to fill gaps,what jobs the youth were able to get with the program's support would ease the program's financial weight, possibly some youth mentoring grant money or judicial district funds for targeted youth to keep them out of the court system, etc.  I have experience with this age youth in a social entrepreneurship training with access to some start up money if they get that far in the program.  It's a difficult curriculum but it focuses on entrepreneurial thinking rather than "looking for a job', instead looking at "creating a job". 

Thoughts?  Thanks in advance!  I know you all understand this would be a shoestring operation and the goal we are trying to achieve. 

lhamo

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A few things that popped up on a Google search for "foster care philanthropy"

1)  This program in Seattle/King County currently has a goal of improving high school graduation rates for foster care kids, and by extension their employability:

http://www.treehouseforkids.org/why-treehouse/our-impact-2/

They seem to have a lot of useful resources on their site:

http://www.treehouseforkids.org/why-treehouse/research/

The Casey Family Foundation seems to be a major supporter.

They are huge -- according to their 2013 PF990 their assets were 7+ million, probably have grown substantially since.

2)  If they have a connection to a church, this program called FaithBridge might be a useful model they could explore:

http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/making_forever_families

3)  Foster Care to Success seems to have a lot of related programs.  They only get a 3 out of 4 stars on Charity Navigator, though, which is a bit of a red flag for me (I used to work for a 4 star organization so I know it can be achieved)

http://www.fc2success.org/

You might also reach out to Mike Rowe's foundation.  This sounds like exactly the kind of thing he would support.  Even getting them profiled on his Facebook feed could lead to a lot of interesting opportunities.

Good luck to you all with this!  Important work to be doing, for sure.


 

tonysemail

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my wife volunteers at a house for homeless young adults. 
It sounds similar to what your son is interested in.
They provide a house where homeless kids can show up for a hot shower, a bit of food, advice, and a change of clothes.
From what I hear, there are a lot of challenges to be wary of, so definitely do your research and have good policies to deter violence, stealing, etc.
http://www.standupforkids.org/siliconvalley/

I volunteer at this organization which offers apprenticeship to kids aging out of foster care.
I think it's a great way to build some life skills and get off the streets and back into school.
http://www.goodkarmabikes.org/programs.html

Kroaler

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Sounds like an excellent plan,  if your able to hand pick the ones who already have the desire to go somewhere in life, then I see the work you want to do being exponential as far as their success goes. 

mozar

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So, they would screen for those who want to/are able to learn the badassity type life skills and take power over their own lives.

It bums me out that only the kids with pre-existing privilege who are going to be OK anyway are the only ones who can participate in the program. I can understand if you don't want violent offenders but I hope you can at least offer the program to everyone. The people who aren't interested will drop out.

sheepstache

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I don't have any advice but I have enormous support for you. People aging out of foster care are always the worst case scenario I think of when thinking of the difficulties of getting by in this country.