Each year 20,000+ youths in the United States emancipate from foster care, with most lacking critical support as they transition to young adulthood. An estimated 30-50 percent of youth in the foster care system exit without a high school diploma or GED. Only about 8% of foster youth go on to post-secondary education, and 5% or less of those ultimately earn a degree. Within 18 months of exiting foster care, 50% are homeless.
PRIDE Industries proudly helps young adults in and emancipating from, the foster care system develop independence and self-sufficiency skills. PRIDE’s Youth Services provide support and guidance to teens while connecting them to their community. This success is made possible by your generous donations to PRIDE Industries through our Development and Donor Services program.
It has been an exciting year for Scott, a high school senior who is currently on track to graduate from high school and getting ready to start a new, independent adult life. Like many of his peers, Scott participates in a variety of activities, including martial arts and fixing cars, and plans on attending community college to study mechanics or a technical trade.
From a very young age, Scott has had to face many challenges. Due to a turbulent and unstable family home life, he was placed in foster care, twice – once as a small child and again when he was 15. To get through these rough times, Scott turned to his brother and sister for support.
“My siblings and I all banded together during our family’s rough periods. They also helped me navigate through school,” said Scott. “When I was young, I was bullied and often struggled to make friends due to other kids not understanding my disabilities. As I got older, it became easier to connect with others. My family and close friends have continued to help me get to where I am today.”
As he started nearing the end of high school, Scott began exploring career options with his guidance counselor. She recommended PRIDE’s Youth Services Program.
To help guide him through this process, Scott was first provided with a PRIDE Job Developer/ Transitional Coordinator, Chrystie Martin in 2017. “At first it felt a little uncomfortable getting help,” said Scott. “However, it became easier as we started meeting together on a regular basis to work on employment preparation, building my resume and filling out job applications.”
In addition to helping youth with job preparation and placement, Job Developers also work with program participants on building life skills and soft-skills. Funding for Job Development services is possible from generous donations to PRIDE Industries. To prepare Scott for adulthood and self-sufficiency, Chrystie worked with him on fundamentals such as budgeting, obtaining a bank account and navigating public transportation. Once he overcame these hurdles and gained these essentials skills, Scott was on his way to getting a job.
With Chrystie’s assistance, Scott received a paid internship at a local drugstore. “It was a big learning process for me,” said Scott. “So many things were new, especially dealing with difficult customers. I realized that many were either frustrated or just having a bad day; the key to working with them was learning how to relate with patience.” Through the internship, Scott learned how to interact with customers and the importance of providing outstanding customer service – a skill he can apply at any future job.
After completing his internship, Scott landed a position at an event and party planning company. “The confidence I gained from my previous position helped me develop better communication skills with my new supervisors and coworkers, including active listening and asking follow-up questions when given a new task.”
In Fall 2018, Scott stepped down from his position to focus on finishing up his high school program and is currently working on-call in a custodial position. “Thanks to PRIDE’s assistance, I have been able to start saving up for a vehicle and build a foundation for when I am ready to start a trade program,” said Scott. “It’s been wonderful seeing Scott’s skills and confidence improving over the past years,” said Chrystie. “We wish him the best as he graduates from high school and applies for college programs.”
Scott was able to overcome challenges to employment and gain essential life skills thanks to generous donations made to PRIDE Industries through our Development and Donor Services program.