The nonprofit Fostering Youth Independence is seeking “Allies” to support Santa Clarita Valley youth who are aging out of the Los Angeles County foster care system.
Allies provide invaluable support to these vulnerable youth, as each one is paired with a youth who they will help guide and encourage as they complete a post-secondary education, a key to breaking the cycle of challenges faced by these youth.
On March 7 a training session will be held for anyone interested in learning more about what being an FYI Ally entails. The training will take place in the Fellowship Center at Christ Lutheran Church in Valencia from 6-8 p.m. Those interested can email FYI’s Volunteer Coordinator Darlene Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer Allies have the unique opportunity to directly impact the lives of SCV’s transition age foster youth (ages 16 to 25) by providing support and helping them obtain needed resources. Allies also offer encouragement as their youth prepares to become successful, independent adults.
“The number of foster youth here in the SCV continues to grow, and since we don’t turn away any youth who needs our support, that means we have a greater need for additional Allies, who can play such a key role in the lives of these students who are transitioning into adulthood,” said Carolyn Olsen, executive director and co-founder of FYI.
She added that FYI’s youth have achieved many of their goals because of the right support system and caring adult Allies, because these youth have never had the traditional support of parents or family in their lives.
“The rewards of becoming an Ally are clear, said SCV resident Debby Verba. “My initial thought when I joined the FYI family was how good it would feel to make a difference in someone’s life. Little did I know at the time how much someone would be making a difference in my life. I already know that this amazing youth that I met a few months ago, will be in my life for as long as she wants, which she says will be ‘forever.’ I’m glad I had the courage to reach out to become a volunteer. The process is painless and the time you spend is around your schedule. I often don’t feel comfortable around strangers, but the FYI family made me feel at home and appreciated. They are truly some of the kindest and compassionate people you can meet.”
In the six years since FYI was started, the nonprofit has served 144 local youth.
“And there are many more who are aging out of the foster system without being adopted and who we are ready to support,” said Olsen. “We’re so grateful for the Allies who are on this journey with us.”
Further information about Fostering Youth Independence and how to support this organization can be found at www.fyifosteryouth.org.
FYI is a Santa Clarita Valley-based nonprofit organization that supports local foster youth who have aged out of the L.A. County foster care system without being adopted or reunified with their birth parents. FYI addresses the serious challenges faced by these youth, which include not finishing high school or pursuing higher education, homelessness and incarceration. FYI offers current and former foster youth, ages 16-25 years, a caring adult “Ally” to provide the one-on-one guidance and encouragement they need to complete a post-secondary education, as well as resources to help these youth overcome past traumas, complete an education, gain employment and become successful, independent adults. FYI is currently serving 73 foster youth, the majority of whom are attending College of the Canyons.
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