In partnership with the Sofi Tucker Foundation, Sundial Brands—makers of SheaMoisture—donated $25,ooo to Hope For Youth for its STEP UP, STEP OUT program, which addresses a critical issue in the foster care system and within the organization: the “aging-out” of young people at age 21, when their funding is terminated. This program provides future-sighted, individualized, supportive services to our foster youth that build upon their interests, abilities, strengths, and resilience to better prepare them for independent living and provide a channel for continued connection into the future.
Since receiving the grant for Step Up, Step Out Program, Hope For Youth has had the opportunity to provide multiple scholarships to youth who are attending college. The funds were used for the purchase of books, clothing and to support their transportation needs. In addition, it has provided:
- Over 10 youth with laptops to support their study skills while in college and high school
- Another 5 youth received tablets that were needed for educational goals
- Metro cards, bicycles, and even one car was issued to support the specific transportation needs of youth
- Several other youth received driving lessons and provided funds to support their permit tests, as well as other identification such as birth certificates and passports when necessary
Part of the funds received in this program were also used to provide outfits for youth in care who were attending job interviews and also for one youth who received an award at a school ceremony.
During the summer months, 4 youngsters were employed through the program and grant funds were used to support their salaries. We were also able to provide 8 extra weeks of camp for some of the teens who were too young to be left alone all summer and had an interest in a specialty camp that supported their vocational goals.
These funds have played a major role in the way the children in foster care have been able to prepare for their transition into the world beyond foster care. We are thankful for the opportunity to support Hope For Youth and contribute to this impact.