The Issue: Youth Aging Out of Foster Care Without Support
In Florida in 2006, more than 1,488 youth turned 18 and aged out of foster care without permanent families, according to data from the Pew Charitable Trusts. According to Pew's 2008 report, less than 2% of foster-care alumni who aged out of the system across the country had completed college, more than half had experienced homelessness, and nearly 30% had been incarcerated.
The Campaign: Distributing Thanksgiving Meals to Families
If 30 people donate $10 to this Grassroots campaign, then SOS Children's Villages - Florida can distribute boxed Thanksgiving dinners to six underserved families. Each additional $50 raised will provide a Thanksgiving meal for another family. These boxed meals allow SOS alumni—young adults who once lived at the Village but aged out of foster care upon turning 18—to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families. Each feast will feature traditional items including turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing or collard greens, pie, and macaroni and cheese.
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SOS Children's Villages - Florida
SOS Children's Villages - Florida nurtures youth in foster care through a neighborhood built exclusively for them. The street's 12 houses buzz with the activity of the 75 resident boys and girls, who were removed from their homes due to abandonment, abuse, and neglect. They spend their childhood with foster families selected by a caseworker and have access to an array of social and mental-health services. Most children stay at the Village for about two years until they are found a permanent adoptive home or reunited with their biological families. The Village places a high priority on maintaining family connections among siblings, generally placing them in the same house.
SOS Children’s Villages sustains a connection with all its youth after they turn 18 through the After Care program, which helps them transition into adulthood and self-sufficiency. SOS boasts incredible success with this program: 83% of its alumni have graduated high school—33% higher than the national average for foster children—and 47% have gone on to pursue higher education.