Local nonprofit Fostering Youth Independence (FYI) is launching its year-end giving campaign Tuesday, Dec. 1, which is “Giving Tuesday,” the global day of generosity. A key component of the campaign, which will run until the end of the year, is a dollar-for-dollar match up to $10,000, which has been pledged by FYI’s leadership team.
FYI directly impacts the lives of Santa Clarita’s transition age foster youth (ages 16 to 25) by providing support and helping them obtain needed resources as they age out of the foster care system and work to complete a post-secondary education to prepare to become successful, independent adults.
“2020 has been a difficult year for all of us, but particularly for foster youth,” said Carolyn Olsen, FYI’s Executive Director and Co-Founder. “The measures put in place to control the spread of COVID-19 including social distancing, online learning, reduced mental health services, and shutdown of nonessential businesses, have exacerbated the challenges foster youth already face.”
Many of FYI’s youth have become unemployed, and most have struggled with the transition to online learning. FYI has supported these youth in a number of ways and, most importantly, has been a family for those who have none. FYI’s volunteer Allies and staff have also provided emotional support for youth who have felt especially alone during this time.
Examples of the assistance given FYI youth during this year’s challenging Covid shutdown
– Helped 10 youth secure housing
– Provided 3 youth with used car donations
– Held a back-to-school event with free backpacks, school supplies, snacks and hygiene items
– Launched The Study Place, where FYI students have a dedicated space to focus on their online learning, with tutoring, homework help, lunch and free wi-fi
– Distributed “cheer bags” at drive-through events to help relieve isolation and depression due to the shutdown
– Provided $4,400 in emergency financial assistance which paid bills and purchased items for youth who were unemployed
– Held a graduation ceremony for 8 youth who missed out on their high school or college ceremonies
– Helped FYI’s COC students receive laptops and hotspots to learn remotely; helped them with class registration and textbook purchases; and helped them obtain financial aid
“We’re particularly excited about our campaign’s $10,000 match that will enable donors to double their impact,” explained Olsen. “FYI is so blessed to have a leadership team who is personally invested in our mission. Not only are all our board members contributing to the matching fund, but several of our board members also serve as volunteer Allies for our organization. We know the generous Santa Clarita community has many choices when deciding to donate their support dollars, and we hope that people who are making their end-of year-charitable giving plans will consider donating to FYI and help the approximately 50 local foster youth we serve.”
Olsen explained that FYI’s administrative costs are low, so the majority of donations go directly towards crucial programs and items that will support the youth.
“And our goal is to continue to grow our organization and ability to help many more foster youth, as the need in our community is great,” she added.
Donations can be submitted by visiting www.fyifosteryouth.org or, alternately, contacting FYI at
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About Fostering Youth Independence (FYI)
FYI is a Santa Clarita-based nonprofit (501c3) 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 49 foster youth, the majority of whom are attending College of the Canyons.