The Independent Living Skills Program is designed to help foster youth aged 15 through 21 prepare for life as independent adults. Participants learn life skills, receive college preparation instruction, job training, including office etiquette and how to sustain employment, and are awarded a stipend to cover the incidental costs related to graduation including a cap and gown, yearbook, and prom tickets.
Biological parents typically invest a median amount of just under $50,000 on their young adult children after age 18, thus giving them a chance at becoming productive, self-sufficient adults. Foster youth, on the other hand, are thrust into the world at 18 or 21 years of age, with no safety net, and receive on average less than $10,000 of financial assistance. The goal of this program is to prepare older foster youth with the skills necessary to maintain self-sufficiency after emancipation.
In partnership with other community agencies, the program provides assistance with SAT testing/tutoring and college applications, campus tours, driver-education and interview clothes. Students learn personal finance, grocery shopping and cooking, public transportation, basic legal concepts, and appropriate communication and decision-making skills. In order to help navigate their next steps, the program seeks to also provide access to a dedicated Social Worker who directs participants to applicable social services and stopgap resources.