Announcing SAFE’s Alumni Community Services program!Written by The SAFE Alliance
With the announcement of an $80,600 grant from Impact Austin, SAFE’s Alumni Community Services program is on the way!
SAFE will launch the new program this fall to support and guide young people aging out of the foster care system.
SAFE was one of five Impact Austin community partners that accepted grants during Wednesday’s presentation ceremony in Austin City Hall. In short: we are thrilled!
“I never again want to see one of the young adults who I know and love sleeping on a park bench … I want to see them have somebody to connect to, know where to go to ask for help, to have a community that supports them.” – Kelly White, SAFE CEO
The need for Alumni Community Services
Young people need support and guidance as they enter the adult world. Youth involved in the foster care system who have endured abuse, neglect, and instability often need this support in a deep way.
The numbers speak for themselves:
- 1,180 Texas youth transitioned out of foster care in 2015
- 1 in 5 of youth aging out of foster care will become homeless
- 1 in 4 will face the justice system within two years
“After you age out of (foster) care, there are still a lot of things that you do need help with. I still call some of the (SAFE) staff … and say ‘hey, what do I do when this situation happens?’” – former SAFE client helping develop Alumni Community Services
Young adults who were in foster care while living on SAFE’s Manor Road Campus often contact us for support. Although we haven’t had a formalized program, we provided any assistance we could as these dedicated young people worked to get an education, find jobs and affordable housing, and live independently.
With Alumni Community Services, SAFE will offer a more structured approach that better serves foster alumni.
To get a sense of how we can effectively offer that support, SAFE hired a young adult who had aged out of foster care to lead focus groups with youth and other young people involved in the foster system.
Most people have a network of support when they reach adulthood – family they can rely on for a meal, friends who provide emotional support, a community they connect with. For people aging out of foster care, that doesn’t always exist.
The overwhelming response from the focus groups: foster alumni want a sense of community.
How will this program operate?
Thanks in part to Impact Austin’s grant, Alumni Community Services will support former foster youth of all gender identities who are in their late-teens to early-20s and are struggling to live independently.
We will hire a full-time Alumni Navigator to provide outreach, develop a navigation plan for each foster alum, and help alumni follow their plan toward success.
All the while, the Alumni Navigator will provide daily life skills guidance (healthy living, cooking, managing finances, managing time, etc.) and help build a team of alumni leaders ready to support other young adults.
Ultimately, the Navigator will help build a sense of community.
We couldn’t be more excited. Please, stay tuned for an official SAFE announcement when Alumni Community Services launches this fall.
About Impact Austin
Impact Austin is a 501(c)(3) public charity comprised of women seeking to transform lives in the Greater Austin area through high-impact and lifelong giving. Its only membership requirements are to be female and donate $1,250 each year.
Impact Austin combines the annual donations from members and awards large grants each year to local worthy causes selected by its members. Grant applications are accepted in each of the following areas: culture, environment, education, family, and health and wellness.
In 2015, it also established a Catalyst Grant that is awarded to organizations to improve their infrastructure and sustainability. Learn more at impactaustin.org.
You can also find Impact Austin on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.