Inspiration :: Just In Time For Foster Youth
Just In Time (JIT) supports transitional age youths as they leave the foster system by creating a community to help augment the family that many of them don't have. A family's commitment to a foster child, while ideally infinite, too often dissolves once the child turns 18 and the legal commitment no longer exists. So, with little or nothing to their name, many foster children go quite suddenly from 'high school kid' to being entirely unsupported. Without savings, without guidance, without emotional or financial support, and often with a history of trauma and other serious hardships, it is no surprise that approximately 50% of foster children quickly end up homeless. Other disturbing statistics shared on the organization's website include: a 1-3% college graduation rate, a 25% imprisonment rate, and that more than 60% of emancipated foster children survive on less than $6,000 per year. Financial support aside, it takes my breath away to think about going through young adulthood without my family telling me how important and loved I was, and believing in me when I couldn't believe in myself.
The concept is simple, but brilliant. JIT creates opportunities for people in the community to meet transitioning foster children, through different gatherings and events. The hope is that, over time, relationships are built and the young adults can develop a network of people who support them in different ways. Maybe there's one person with whom they spend their holidays, and another who they can call for advice. The relationships are natural and unique, and collectively serve as an alternative to having a true family. By facilitating genuine connections between transitioning foster youths and caring adults, JIT provides an opportunity to develop a support system that will hopefully be lifelong. A support system that many of us have natively in our lives and take for granted.
To learn more - or better yet - to participate, check out their website here!