Local nonprofit Finally Family Homes rallied the community to participate in a poker tournament last month aimed at providing support to college-aged foster youth.
FFH works to assist these young individuals in achieving long-term success and independence, enabling foster youth to concentrate on their personal and educational goals.
“I heard about kids aging out and becoming homeless a long time ago, and when I did it just really hit me,” said Christina Dronen, executive director of FFH. “When you think about homelessness in L.A., you don’t think about the foster kids that never got a family. You think of other causes of homelessness, and the kids get a bag of their clothes in a trash bag and sent out the door of the foster home on their birthday. It really broke my heart.”
One of the significant endeavors undertaken by Finally Family Homes involves constructing tiny homes on wheels for foster youth. These homes, costing $30,000 each, provide a stable and secure living environment for these vulnerable individuals, fostering a sense of belonging and empowerment, according to the organization.
“They have ownership, they have stability, they have control, they have equity, and that gives them some upward mobility and not only that, they have that sense of accomplishment of looking around at a house and saying, ‘Oh, look, I built this. I contributed to it. I paid for this toilet,’” said Dronen.
The recently concluded poker tournament organized by Finally Family Homes raised $8,000. The funds generated will be allocated to various programs and initiatives aimed at supporting foster youth in their journey toward independence.
While recounting her experience at the poker tournament, Dronen expressed satisfaction with the event’s outcome.
“I had a ton of great feedback and saw a lot of laughing and smiling, so I can say that it was a tremendous success,” said Dronen.