Each year, more than 25,000 young people “age out” of foster care system and face the prospect of independent living. For many of them, a lifetime of instability and a lack of strong family and community connections will leave them struggling to find their footing as adults.
First Place for Youth steps in to support young people coming of age in the foster care system whose families who can’t be there for them. We give them love and support as well as the tools they need so that practical skills and confidence take root. We celebrate their victories and provide a shoulder to lean on when things don’t go as planned. We set consistently high expectations for our participants and equip them for success.
We provide young people with safe places to live. Participants in our My First Place program are housed in a fully subsidized shared apartment for the duration of their stay in program. Their First Place team works with them to learn the skills for independent living, from grocery shopping and doing laundry to paying bills and being a good neighbor. With a safe and stable place to call home, they can focus more fully on reaching their goals.
We support young people to succeed in school, build job skills, and obtain employment. We work with foster youth to help them stay on track (or get back on track) toward high school graduation, establishing the educational foundation they need for a successful future. For those who have completed high school, we help them explore their options in postsecondary education and career preparation. Our Education and Employment Specialists work with program participants to understand how their skills and talents connect to potential career pathways and to empower them to set long-term goals for self sufficiency.
We mentor young people in life skills and help them having confidence in their choices. Our staff provide education and guidance that helps participants develop a better understanding about what mature, responsible choices look like in personal and professional relationships, money management, and health and wellness. We offer workshops and individual mentoring and advocacy services to ensure that our young people feel supported and informed about the resources available to them.