Posted on April 20, 2019
Transitional Housing Program | Preparing Former Foster Youth For Adulthood
Few programs produce change in youth that has a lasting effect like the transitional housing program (THP). It has helped youth whose lives would have been worse off if this support was not available.
Before the transitional housing program, youth would leave foster care without support. Youth would end up being homeless, pregnant and alone, in jail, or dead, 50% of the time. I watched with sadness when youth would return to their biological family as a last resort. Often times they would end up in a worse situation. From time to time, this situation would result in addiction, or even worse trouble with the law. Many times they would lose all contact with their family, ending up being alone again. What I see now is a program that takes disadvantaged youth and prepares them for adulthood. This culminates in less youth being homeless. Also through coaching, the youth are able to deal with their complex personal issues.
The youth in our programs are working or going to school, often both. If they have children, they are able to nurture them and not worry while in THP. This is a very different scenario had they not been in our program.
Two years before this transitional housing program existed, I raised money to buy cars for our graduating seniors. U.S. Congressman Doug LaMalfa, and I gave away many cars on one Saturday in the spring of 2012. It was a small gesture, but it was all that we could at the time. We wanted to make sure youth were not leaving foster care without a means of transportation.
The youth in our transitional housing program have visited colleges such as Stanford and CSU Chico. During the visits, they talk with admissions, take tours, and explore possibilities. The youth were able to expand their mind to what is possible. In another trip, they went to Mt Shasta Ski Park where they met with the owner. They discussed his marketing strategy and asked our youth what they thought of his ideas. They are shown opportunities that they might not know existed. We have exposed the youth to a larger world in many ways and will continue to do so.
We are grateful to have the ability to impact the youth and promote changes that will last forever.
Children First FFA is a private, non-profit organization in Northern California that is dedicated to helping change lives by providing a safe place for children to heal in a culture of love, acceptance, and consistency.