The year-end fundraising campaign for Fostering Youth Independence exceeded its goal thanks to the generosity of the Santa Clarita community, the organization announced, as it also revealed the impact that FYI made supporting 100 local foster youth during 2023.
Together with funds from its matching donor team, FYI received a total of $64,543, the highest year-end campaign amount raised in its six-year history, which will help provide critical support to underserved youth aging out of the L.A. County foster system without having been adopted or reunified with their birth parents, the organization’s news release said.
“We are so grateful to our wonderful donors in Santa Clarita who gave generously to support our mission to help break the cycle of poverty and abuse these vulnerable youth have experienced, so they can become successful, independent adults,” Carolyn Olsen, FYI’s executive director and co-founder, said in the release.
She said FYI directly impacts the lives of Santa Clarita’s transition-age foster youth (16 to 25 years) by providing a community of support and resources as they work toward completing a post-secondary education.
Olsen said that FYI, in the past year, supported a total of 100 local foster youth and celebrated 15 graduations. Five youth received high school diplomas, three earned associate degrees, three were awarded bachelor’s degrees, three completed professional certifications and one earned her teaching credential.
Also among the organization’s accomplishments, according to the news release:
• Helped 52 youth enroll in college or trade schools.
• Welcomed 25 new youth into the FYI community.
• Secured safe and stable housing for 21 foster high school and college students facing homelessness; a total of 67 since 2017.
• Added 30 new volunteer allies.
• Supported 57 youths with emergency assistance funds and transportation.
• Hosted an annual “Back to School Bash & Career Fair” and provided backpacks and school supplies for 75 youth.
• Provided 82 academic support sessions at The Study Place.
• Launched a new group therapy program called C.H.A.T.
• Fifteen youth participated in the “Ready, Set, Drive!” program to get driver’s licenses.
• Hosted a summer beach trip for 28 youth.
• Held a “Celebration of Everything” event to acknowledge youth graduations and other milestones and thank volunteers.
• Hosted a “Friendsgiving” event for the youth.
• Introduced a new financial literacy program called “Money Matters.”
• Held an annual holiday party for all youth and their Allies and provided gifts and stockings for 76 youth.
“In addition to monetary and in-kind donations, FYI invites the community to consider becoming a volunteer Ally to a local foster youth, to help provide guidance and encouragement for these youth who don’t have their own caring families to support and guide them,” Olsen said in the release. “Introducing these youth to a healthy adult relationship many have never had can make all the difference in the trajectory of their lives.”
More information is available at www.fyifosteryouth.org.