Mentors for Young Adults Aging Out of Foster Care
According to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, in Fiscal Year 2012, 723 young adults aged 18 and older left foster care. Without family or the support from a caring adult, statistics indicate that many of these young adults will experience homelessness, incarceration and/or poverty. In an attempt to improve the success of teens ‘aging out’ of foster care, Arizona’s Children Association (AzCA) has created THRIVE, a mentor program designed to enhance support for young adults involved in Independent Living Services.
In May of 2013, AzCA was awarded a statewide DES contract for the Independent Living Program which teaches essential life skills to youth aging out of the foster care system. In order to improve the lives of transitioning youth, AzCA decided to bring mentors on board to develop supportive, positive relationships that assist the young adults reach their full potential.
THRIVE is actively recruiting community members and foster care alumni to be mentors for young adults (ages 17-19). Mentors are asked to commit to working with their mentee for two years in order to assist them in their transition into adulthood. THRIVE mentors must be at least 21 years old, demonstrate life skills and achievement, be relatable to youth, and have at least one year’s experience working with adolescents. All mentors receive the training, support and resources necessary to understand the transition planning process and to cultivate a successful mentor relationship.
THRIVE is statewide and dedicated to one-on-one mentoring that helps foster care youth thrive and achieve the same success as their peers who are not involved in foster care including: reduced rates of homelessness and teen pregnancy, increased rates of graduation, job stability, social skills, and healthy adult connections.
Stephanie is an eighteen year old who is part of AzCA’s Independent Living Program. She has been matched with a mentor for several months and is grateful for the time they spend together.
“She is a dedicated parent. She is a good example for me and I hope to gain some of the knowledge she has,” said Stephanie. “[She’s] trustworthy, successful and a great leader. I really like her. I hope for the qualities that she has and I will learn a lot for the future.”
Questions? Email Mentor@arizonaschildren.org or call 1-844-747-1533.