INDEPENDENT LIVING HOME
When children cannot return home to their families, child welfare systems must move quickly to find them alternative homes. As time goes by, the prospects for landing in safe, loving, permanent homes grow dimmer for foster youth. Many will simply “age out” of the system when they turn 18, without a family and without the skills to make it on their own.
In 2013, more than 23,000 young people— whom states failed to reunite with their families or place in permanent homes — aged out of foster care, simply because they were too old to remain.
Youth who age out of foster care are less likely to graduate from high school and are less likely to attend or graduate college. By age 26, approximately 80 percent of young people who aged out of foster care earned at least a high school degree or GED compared to 94 percent in the general population. By age 26, 4 percent of youth who aged out of foster care had earned a 4-year college degree, while 36 percent of youth in the general population had done so.*
Additionally, we encounter many youth who have not been in foster care but through life circumstances and struggles their families have faced they find themselves without a home or family. These youth are homeless. They may not have suffered abuse or neglect in their families, but they have endured trauma that has nonetheless left its mark on their lives.
We have found that both aged out foster youth and homeless youth face similar struggles and have similar deficits when it comes to the skills necessary to live independently. Many of the skills most of us have learned along the way in life, these youth haven’t had someone to teach them, guide them and assist them in learning these critical skills. At Grace Landing, we come alongside the youth and assist them in learning life skills such as: resume writing, applying for jobs, interviewing, budgeting, time management, cooking, grocery shopping, and various interpersonal skills. We believe building authentic relationship with these youth is the first major step in assisting them in learning the skills they need and will put them on their way towards being able to live independently.
A typical week at Grace Landing includes the following opportunities for our youth to grow and develop:
- Weekly Group Meeting – A weekly meeting where we provide lunch for the youth. We have a Bible study that is geared towards college-aged young adults. We discuss a life skill that falls under one of the four categories: time management, budgeting, verbal/non-verbal communication, and responsibility/autonomy.
- Weekly Individual Meetings – An individualized meeting with Eli to further explore their individual situation and how to apply the life skills we have covered. These meetings also provide a time for life coaching and act as a therapeutic interaction with the youth.
- Mentors – We provide mentors in two ways: 1. We have a mentoring program called, Wild at Heart, which meets regularly over the course of 6 months and is run by volunteers. At these meetings they discuss Biblical manhood and how to apply it and other manhood qualities to their lives. 2. Individual one-on-one mentoring by staff, RAs and other volunteers willing to pour into the lives of our youth.
If you or someone you know of someone who could use assistance or a place to live, please fill out the application below and submit it to Juda at Judaa@gracelanding.com.
*Statistics found at: Children’s Rights