At First Place for Youth, we believe deeply in our work and we are proud of the positive changes we help make possible. When they come to us, young people are at a pivotal moment in their lives. Putting them on a positive path right when they are becoming adults can change the entire trajectory of their lives for the better. We see our work as an investment in the future. But we think it’s also important to recognize that the work we do can be hard—both for our participants and for us.
First, many foster kids miss out on the chance to learn practical skills, like applying for a job, paying the bills, opening a bank account, cooking, or doing laundry. And second, many of our young people have experienced abuse, homelessness, violence, or sexual assault, whether as young children, young adults, or both. Because of the legacy of those traumatic experiences, they may struggle with PTSD, learning disabilities, or other health problems that have never been addressed.
First Place for Youth takes a holistic approach to supporting young people with both of these types of barriers. We help them gain the tools and practical skills they need for the future, as well as the personal coaching and care they need to address and treat mental and physical health challenges.
As an organization, and as individual staff and board members, we get lots of questions about our personal and organizational challenges as well. Our work can be hard, but we know our participants. We understand what they need. And we know how to help them. Our job is incredibly rewarding, because we know we are helping our young people create paths to responsible adulthood and a brighter future.