For us, giving back is very important. We wanted to find a like-minded organization that we could develop a meaningful partnership with; we also knew we wanted to keep the focus close to home since there are so many people needing help that are within walking distance. We compiled a list of organizations related in one way or another to children's issues because children are our future, and ended up falling in love with one of the first organizations that we went to visit: the Teen Project. The rest is history.
During our first visit to one of the Teen Project's locations, we met with founder Lauri Burns and learned about the issue of young adults aging out of foster care. Lauri described how at the age of 18, foster care services end and young people who have grown up in the system are thrust out into the world without any support, guidance, or access to the resources necessary to sustainably weather this difficult transition. The transition from adolescence to adulthood is a difficult one, even with an intact family structure. Recent studies have shown that the average young person relies primarily on parental support during this time, and most do not actually become self-sufficient until age 26. By contrast, youth exiting the foster care system do not have this option; they are cut off abruptly from their sole support system at age 18. Most do not have a plan or a place to live.
Where most teens are entering this time of their life with a sense of awe and opportunity, foster kids are left in a state of desperation. The truth of the matter is that anyone being put on the street without money, shelter or a job would have a rough time, but because of their age and mental state these kids lack the knowledge necessary to rebound from this tragedy. There are 25,000 teens exiting the system each year to homelessness. A shocking 25% of the almost 25,000 homeless youth in California were in foster care just last year. They were cast out of the system without a place to go simply because they turned 18 years old.
National Text-For-Help Service: Youth can text SHELTER and their ZIP code (i.e. SHELTER 90210) to the phone number 99000 from anywhere in the nation and receive a response with a local shelter.
The Teen Project gives:
The Teen Project serves as parents to the parentless, bringing them home, giving them a chance to live a happy and fulfilled life. Their mission is to provide teens aging out of the foster care system with all of the resources and support of an intact family, to allow the greatest opportunity for a successful transition to adulthood.
Transitional Housing: provides kids with the resources and support of an intact family including safety, support, supervision, and basic living needs.This foundation gives them the greatest opportunity for a successful transition into adulthood.
College Housing: Free room and board plus full college support. Designed with a real home in mind, college housing is a product of our belief that where you live, and how you live, speaks directly to how you feel about yourself.
Drop-in Centers: provide clothing, food and many other resources, but the main goal is to get our kids to safe shelter. The PAD (Protection and Direction) Drop in center is the “hub” for all 17,000 housing resources we refer to all over the United States. Each youth is assessed and goals set to return to family or locate a suitable housing alternative to meet their needs and get them back on track.
The day after we first set foot in one of Teen Projects future homes and met Lauri Burns we found ourselves back the next morning furnishing and decorating a bedroom we sponsored where kids will stay for their time rehabilitating from their abuse and life on the streets. It was really fun putting together a room for these kids filled with some of our favorite books, games and accessories. Creating a sense of place that will encourage and inspire them to live the life they love. Check out the pictures of our room below!
There are so many organizations out there that need support and attention. Our goal is not only to help the Teen Project and other charities financially with every sale of our brand, but also to participate, document and inspire people to join us in a life of always giving back and being a part of something bigger. GIVING HEALS and with that in mind we hope to educate, enlighten, and inspire our audience to get involved with charity organizations and issues that they resonate with.