What do you remember about heading off to college, or starting your first job? You were likely a bit nervous about living life outside of your family’s home, but also excited about getting out “on your own.” Now, imagine if that milestone in your life also meant you really were on your own, with no family support or even a family home to go back to on school breaks. That’s the reality for the nearly 30,000 foster youth who “age out” of the foster system every year.
For youth who age out of the system without a permanent family to support them, life is often tough. 25% of these youth become homeless by the time they turn twenty. 25% become incarcerated. 60% have children of their own within four years, and those kids are twice as likely to be placed in foster care themselves - continuing the cycle for a future generation.
What foster youth need more than anything is a community that cares about them. We have to stop thinking of them as “those kids,” start thinking of them collectively as “our kids.” With just a little support from caring adults, former foster youth can thrive and become valuable members of society. They just need some of the lasting support that they lost when they entered foster care.
What can you do to help?
Join Camellia Network - in the Victorian-era language of flowers, the camellia (kuh-meel-yuh) meant “my destiny is in your hands.” Camellia Network is a community of caring adults who want to help former foster youth achieve their potential, by giving them the resources, support, and connections they need to succeed.
We will do this in two ways:
- Support youth - through Camellia Network’s online profiles, former foster youth tell their stories, and their dreams, to our community. They register for what they need to thrive in school or work, whether it be a new backpack or apartment supplies. Supporters can contribute any amount of money to help purchase these items and ensure that these youth have the opportunity to achieve their dreams.
- Build Community - Since material support is just part of the equation that builds foster youth’s future success, we will all come together to create a community of emotional support and encouragement for the youth in the network. This powerful community can provide career advice, mentorship, or just a place for the youth to hear encouraging words from people who care about them.
Learn more about how to Get Involved now.