AOI promotes resources and strategies to help youth age out of foster care successfully.
Aging Out Institute is a social enterprise dedicated to connecting professionals who work with foster youth with resources and strategies that help youth age out of foster care and into adulthood successfully. Everything we do is focused on finding resources and strategies that are effective in helping youth prepare for aging out and supporting them after they age out. We are committed to improving national outcomes for youth aging out of foster care by sharing and encouraging the widespread use of effective resources and strategies.
Meet Our Founder
I’ve always been an optimist – a silver lining, light at the end of the tunnel, glass is half full kind of person. Even when I was a teenager and was placed in the North Carolina foster care system with my younger sister (I was in 10th grade and she was in 9th), I was able to tap into my optimism and remain hopeful for the future. We moved to a group home in another town for a few months, leaving the school where we had attended for seven years and saying goodbye to all our childhood friends. Then we were moved to an emergency shelter where two year-long beds had opened up, and we stayed there for several more months.
In the middle of my junior year, our uncle was able to make arrangements for us to move from North Carolina to Maryland where we lived a short time with our grandmother, changing schools yet again. She felt she was too old to take care of two teenage girls, and in the summer before my senior year, my uncle again stepped in and made arrangements for us to move in with his in-laws (my aunt’s brother and sister-in-law) who happened to be foster parents in the Pennsylvania system at the time. We didn’t know them, but they took us in and we have been part of their family ever since.
We were among the fortunate ones. Too many youth in foster care do not have the support that we had and they struggle tremendously with the transition to adulthood, and that is why I started Aging Out Institute. I wanted to give back, and I decided to do so by tapping into my computer, project management, and instructional design skills, creating a way online to connect foster care professionals across the country with resources and strategies that can help youth prepare for aging out and that will support them after they age out. As you can see above, I remain an optimist and I have big plans for AOI (and there are even more ideas that I have not yet listed here). I look forward to continuing this work over the years by building out AOI’s capacity to impact the outcomes for youth who must age out of care.
Lynn Tonini, M.Ed., CPLP