Local nonprofit Fostering Youth Independence is seeking “Allies” to support Santa
Clarita youth who are aging out of the L.A. County foster care system. Allies provide support to these vulnerable youth, as each one is paired with a youth who they will help guide and encourage as they complete a post-secondary education – a key to breaking the cycle of challenges faced by these youth, according to a statement released by FYI.
On March 7, a training session is scheduled be held for anyone interested in learning more about what being an FYI Ally entails. The training is to take place in the Fellowship Center at Christ Lutheran Church in Valencia from 6 to 8 pm. Those interested can email FYI’s Volunteer Coordinator Darlene Allen at [email protected].
Volunteer Allies have the opportunity to directly impact the lives of Santa Clarita’s transition-age foster youth (ages 16 to 25) by providing support and helping them obtain needed resources. Allies also offer encouragement as their youth prepares to become successful, independent adults.
“The number of foster youth here in the SCV continues to grow, and since we don’t turn away any youth who needs our support, that means we have a greater need for additional Allies, who can play such a key role in the lives of these students who are transitioning into adulthood,” Carolyn Olsen, executive director and co-founder of FYI, said in the release.
She added that FYI’s youth have achieved many of their goals because of the right support system and caring adult Allies, because these youth have never had the traditional support of parents or family in their lives.
Local resident Debby Verba said in the release that being an Ally comes with its own rewards: “My initial thought when I joined the FYI family was how good it would feel to make a difference in someone’s life. Little did I know at the time how much someone would be making a difference in my life. I already know that this amazing youth, that I met a few months ago, will be in my life for as long as she wants – which she says will be ‘forever.’ I’m glad I had the courage to reach out to become a volunteer. The process is painless and the time you spend is around your schedule.”
Verba added, “I often don’t feel comfortable around strangers, but the FYI family made me feel at home and appreciated. They are truly some of the kindest and compassionate people you can meet.”
“In the six years since FYI was started, we’ve served 144 local youth,” Olsen added. “And there are many more who are aging out of the foster system without being adopted and who we are ready to support. We’re so grateful for the Allies who are on this journey with us.”
Additional information about Fostering Youth Independence can be found at www.fyifosteryouth.org.