Over the course of a year, our circle of supportive Influencers set goals with youth in transition, foster accountability, and implement a plan to create lasting change for those aging out of foster care in Colorado.
“I turned 18 a month before I graduated from high school. The day after graduation, I was kicked out of my foster home, where I had been living for two years. I was 18, a high school graduate on my way to college in the fall, and I was homeless.” — Nicole, former foster youth | Youth Stories
Jack did not look forward to his 18th birthday, unlike many other kids his age. This date meant that he could no longer count on help from the State of Colorado to provide for his needs. Without a family to adopt him, Jack was on his own.
Shortly after he turned 18, Jack dropped out of high school to work full time, since he needed money to pay his rent. But he hadn’t learned budgeting skills while in foster care and quickly found himself months behind on rent. His landlord gave him a couple of extensions, but eventually Jack found himself homeless. Without a GED or high school diploma and no place to live, Jack felt hopeless. He turned to drugs to numb his pain and spent the next five years in and out of jail.
Without positive Influencers to navigate next steps, many foster youth find themselves homeless, addicted, pregnant or in jail. The Colorado Teen Project works with youth in transition for one year to create significant life changes as they plan for the next stage in life.
Within one year, we recognize that a “circle of support” comprising of Influencers, in the areas of education, workforce development, housing, mindfulness training, health and wellness, as well as financial fitness are critical to creating long-term positive outcomes for the youth we serve.
At the core of Project:SELF-START we offer sustainable mentoring relationships by partnering youth with goal-oriented, supportive mentors. Workshops, career assessments, skills training and assistance surrounding stability and career exploration support a journey toward opportunity and self-discovery while building a positive growth mindset.
Project:GROW empowers underserved youth through garden-based education. CTP works with youth in transition to become gardeners, harvesters and potential team leaders for Colorado-based community gardens and farms — reinforcing sustainable organic gardening, healthy business practices and responsible leadership.
Through guided mindfulness practices with area practitioners, youth learn how to settle a busy mind, direct and sustain attention, explore limiting thoughts, build a positive growth mindset and culivate compassion with their peers. Research shows that practicing mindfulness benefits the body and mind.