How you can help foster children transitioning to independent living

Young people from CHOICES are shown here seeing the ocean for the first time while attending a national conference in Florida. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Young people from CHOICES are shown here seeing the ocean for the first time while attending a national conference in Florida. CONTRIBUTED

Did you realize that 27,000 youngsters age out of the foster care system each year in the United States? CHOICES, Inc. offers an Independent Living program to help foster youth ages 17-21 transition from foster care to

CHOICES, Inc. offers an Independent Living program to help foster youth ages 17-21 transition from foster care to help them become successful and confident young adults.

“Our Independent Living program allows for foster teens to practice living on their own while receiving guidance through an integrated support system,” explains program manager Robert Bruce.

At the moment, the organization has 36 young people placed in the program and provides them with a fully furnished apartment upon placement.

“This is a large number of youth for us, and we continue to get referrals,” Bruce says. “This is the first time many of these kids have lived on their own. We want them to feel welcome when they move in. We outfit their whole apartment from kitchen essentials to cleaning supplies and furniture.”

Each year some youth are selected to attend the Daniel Memorial Conference, a national conference for youth across the nation who are aging out of foster care. “They have motivational speakers and learning opportunities for transition,” CHOICE’s development director Ashley Pester says. “Kids come back from this conference changed, wanting to beat the odds more than ever. For many, it is their first time leaving Ohio, staying in a nice hotel, eating in nice restaurants and traveling by plane. Our staff usually works in a fun day as well.”

What CHOICES needs:

These should be new items

  • Full-size bed in a bag
  • Bath towels and wash cloths
  • Shower curtain and hooks
  • Four-piece dish sets and drinking glasses
  • Cutting board and three knife set
  • Toaster
  • Dish Drainer
  • Silverware sets
  • Tower lamps (with 3-way switch)
  • Fire extinguisher

Donations can be dropped off at the CHOICES office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1785 Big Hill Road in Dayton.

For a complete list of items or if you have questions, please contact Ashley Pester at (937) 264-0084 ext. 122 or apester@choicesfostercare.com.

Other ways to help

There are opportunities to help kids in foster care year-round. CHOICES hosts annual school supply and Christmas gift drives. You can also help fund individual requests from kids to participate in sports, band, attend class trips and more. For the latest projects, visit www.facebook.com/CHOICESInc

For more information call (937)264-0084 ext. 122.

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