Fostering Futures for Foster Care Awareness Month

May was full of celebration in honor of Foster Care Awareness Month with graduations, job shadowing for transition-age foster youth and skill building events.

Congrats to our graduates!

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For those who attended our 22nd Annual Dinner, you are familiar with the incredible Jasmine who graduated from University of Southern California with her Bachelor’s degree. Jasmine was the first youth we helped access extended foster care to age 21 after the passage of AB 12. Jasmine is planning to further her education by enrolling in graduate school.

Jessica graduated from Cal State Northridge with her Master’s of Social Work. Now she is going to use her knowledge and experience to help children and youth find the path to the life they want. We have watched Jessica blossom into an incredible advocate, professional and mother of two.

Three young women who are survivors of sex trafficking graduated from high school last month! One earned an academic achievement award from the Probation Department while another young woman graduated early and is already attending community college. We are now working to ensure these youth access the benefits of foster care to age 21.

Job Shadowing: Career Planning for the Future

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For youth entering the workforce, we hosted two weeks of job shadowing where youth met with professionals at ICM Partners, GrammyU, SpaceX, the Redondo Beach Fire Department, Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas’ office and medical staff at the LAC + USC Medical Center. Foster youth discovered new careers, met empowering mentors and set goals for the future. One youth said, “This event re-inspired me to pursue my dreams.”

Partnerships to Inspire and Ignite

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HeirloomLA hosted a brunch for six foster youth on April 27. Co-owners Tara Maxey and Matt Poley prepared several fun and educational stations for the young women. They were taught how to properly set a table and given tips on etiquette and serving. Matt even provided a cooking demonstration and showed the participants how to make a tasty beet salad and vegetable omelet, dishes that would be easy to duplicate at home.

A few days later, the Junior League of Los Angeles generously hosted a creative cooking workshop for 25 young women in foster care. The ladies learned how to cook a variety of simple and tasty breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes, like chicken lettuce wraps, chili and yogurt parfaits. The Junior League also provided information on accessing the CalFresh Program and how to budget, grocery shop and create a meal plan.

The Alliance also recently partnered with L.A. Kitchen for the launch of their first food recovery and culinary job-training pilot program at St. Vincent Meals on Wheels. The program focuses on youth aging out of foster care and older adults exiting the prison system, and introduces a culinary arts curriculum that emphasizes locally sourced produce and nutrition education. We are so proud that Manny, one of our foster youth, interviewed and was accepted into the program that started June 4, 2014.

It was an active month for our work with transition-age youth! If you’re looking to get involved, now is the perfect time to become a mentor, volunteer or join Friends of the Alliance.