Programs for transitioning San Diego foster youth – how you can help
Thanksgiving is now over and hopefully everyone had a great holiday filled with family and friends gathered around a table full of delicious food. While some of us had the luxury of enjoying the holiday in its entirety some weren’t so lucky. This week on “Winning in life with Steve Sexton” Don Wells, Executive Director for Just in Time for Foster Youth guest starred on Sunday’s show to inform listeners of the ongoing issue of transitioning foster youths into adults.
Imagine, you just turned 18 and you’re ready to start your day as an adult. You walk out of your room to find your parents in the living room holding up a garbage bag full of some of your clothes and say, “You turned 18 it’s time for you to leave, don’t call us, and don’t come back.” Can you imagine what that would feel like? The sad truth is that situation happens often and that is why Just in Time for Foster Youth (JIT) was created.
JIT started 10 years ago when San Diego child advocacy attorney Jeanette Day witnessed a tragic transition when foster youth would leave the Juvenile Court system without essential family support. She would see that when these kids would turn 18 they would enter the world totally unprepared. There were a few agencies that would offer transitional housing, but it didn’t provide enough to prepare them for the world.
Just in Time for Foster Youth (JIT) envisions a future in which every youth leaving the foster care system has a community of caring adults waiting for them after 18. We believe consistent, long-term help from the heart is the foundation for the success of our youth so that they can thrive and enjoy productive, satisfying lives. – JIT’s mission & vision
Most people think that the youth go into a foster family for life but the reality of it is that’s actually a very small percentage. When foster youths turn 18 they go to court, get emancipated, and jump into the world with no resources or basic tools. Because of this lack of resources some end up in poverty and/or jail; In fact 70% of inmates in California had been in foster care at some point in their life. It’s not because they were/are bad people, but because they were never given the proper tools for life. They don’t know how to develop relationships, deal with conflict, etc. JIT is all about breaking that mold and providing the resources a new adult needs to succeed in life.
How does JIT break that mold? JIT offers several programs, two of the foundational programs being:
Emergency/ basic needs program: Which provides immediate financial support in emergency situations.
My first home program: Which provides gently used and new furnishings for a youth’s first home and organizes community volunteers to help with the actual setup.
One of their newer programs, College Bound Program provides former foster youth with a volunteer mentor, computers, and additional tech tools, basic furnishings for dormitory rooms or college apartments, and school supplies. This program has served over 300 youths of which 77% have graduated or are still in school. There are more programs offered and for the full list please click here.
How can you help? While volunteers are greatly appreciated and always welcome the true need comes from funding. Don asks that you go JIT’s website to see how you can help with this growing issue. They currently have a holiday campaign “My first home for the holidays” and need your help in reaching it financially, so this holiday season help a foster youth live to his or her potential by volunteering or donating to JIT. For more information please visit JIT’s website at www.jitfosteryouth.org.
“Winning In Life” is the radio show hosted by financial advisor Steve Sexton. Steve is the President of Sexton Advisory Group and Director of the Financial Knowledge Institute. Each week on the show, he provides his listeners with exclusive advice in financial planning, business updates, health issues, and charities making a difference. “Winning in Life” airs every Sunday morning at 9:00 KCBQ 1170 AM. To listen to the full show please visit www.winninginliferadio.com