What You'll Get
The Issue: Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
In 2007, 16,000 children in Illinois lived in substitute care, according to the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, and according to the Court Appointed Special Advocates, more than 6,000 Cook County children are currently in the foster-care system. Every year, a large number of these children reach the age of majority, also known as aging out of foster care. A recent study by the University of Chicago reveals that Midwestern youth aging out of foster care experience substantial disparities—including unemployment, homelessness, and malnourishment—compared to their peers in the general population. The same study also found that connections to family members or a stable adult are important for the success of emancipating youths.
The Campaign: Pair Foster Youth with Positive Role Models
If this Grassroots campaign raises $600, then Children’s Home + Aid can sponsor a local enriching activity for 20 adult mentors and their foster-youth mentees. Each additional $30 raised will be used to provide another mentor and mentee with a set of tickets or passes to a local activity. Children's Home + Aid's Adult Connections program pairs youth with qualified adult mentors to develop a safe, trusting relationship that the youth can draw on to increase their independent-living skills and stability. Sponsored activities, such as a trip to an art gallery, museum, cooking lesson, or gym, provide a fun environment for mentor-mentee pairs to bond.
You can follow the progress of this and other Grassroots campaigns at the Groupon Grassroots website.
The Fine Print
About Children’s Home + Aid
As a leading Illinois family- and child-service agency, Children’s Home + Aid serves more than 40,000 children and families each year through its child-development and -care programs, family counseling, and foster-care-advocacy programs. The organization's roots extend back to 1883, when the Reverend Van Arsdale brought into his home a young girl whose mother was in crisis. The minister's umbrella of care soon spread throughout the country, as he established advisory boards and worked to improve child welfare. Today, Children's Home + Aid focuses on early childhood and juvenile justice, preventing child abuse, and garnering positive child development in strong families.
The organization’s Raising A Reader program helps children ages 3-5 get "kindergarten-ready" by developing early language and literacy abilities. Much of this work incorporates full parental involvement; facilitators encourage parent-child bonding through everything from bedtime stories to engaging, brain-building activities. Currently helping more than 350 children develop these necessary scholastic skills, the Illinois chapter is just part of a larger national trend; in 2011, the national Raising a Reader program touched the lives of almost 118,000 kids across 32 states.