PREPARING FOSTER YOUTH FOR ADULTING
Show notes and recordings of AOI’s podcasts from 2022 are below (episodes #048-065).
You can also find the show on most podcast distributors, including Podbean, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Pandora, Stitcher, TuneIn, Listen Notes, Podbay, Blubrry, Vurbl, and iHeartRadio.
The Aging Out Institute podcast is AMAZING! It's a space for conversations about access, opportunities, and discovery as youth transition from foster care programming into adulthood. As an educator and nonprofit leader, I look for ways to connect with people making a difference and to hear about real work happening in communities across the country. Listening to an episode gives me that time to get inspired and find resources for youth.Andrea FerreroCo-Founder/Executive Director, Pockets Change
I enjoy the AOI podcast. It gives me an opportunity to learn of the many organizations that have the passion and mission to assist the foster care population.Patricia Holland, Executive DirectorAll Things New, Inc.
The AOI podcast series has been an incredibly helpful tool for our new non-profit. Our organization has been encouraged, informed and motivated by the AOI podcast series. Our volunteers and leaders love listening to this podcast and look forward to many more to come!Angela LippensFounder, Unfaulted
I really enjoyed the first podcast of AOI's that I listened to about the mobile tiny homes (among other things). I could tell that Lynn asks questions in such a way that listeners can really gain actionable information.Dr. Steve J. RiosPresident, NPO Library
I greatly appreciated being a guest on this podcast! I've been on many podcasts and I found this one to be the most helpful. I loved Lynn's style of tactful and critical feedback. Overall, this is a highly recommended podcast for foster care awareness!Cheryl WilliamsFounder and Executive Director of Fundamentals for Foster Care
As a former child welfare case manager who worked directly with children in foster youth, I find it comforting that there are agencies that actually help foster youth who are aging out of care. I love that this podcast showcases those agencies!Rhea WardAdmissions Coordinator of Multi-Alliance Agency for Children
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Beth Reinwald, Founder and CEO of Flourish Homes in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Beth shared the challenges that Flourish Home faced getting started, how they launched their 1-2 year, faith-based transitional living program for young women facing homelessness, some of whom have aged out of foster care. Beth also reviewed their mentoring program and other supports they provide youth as they work toward educational and employment goals. Finally, Lynn and Beth discussed the importance of consistency for young people while they are in foster care, both in regard to placements and education.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Joelle Pitts, Executive Director of The R.J. Leonard Foundation in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Joelle shared about their organization’s mentor program focused on helping youth aging out of foster care set and achieve educational and/or employment goals. Joelle explained how their priority is long-term supportive relationships. They also discuss the financial support the organization provides for academic scholarships, transportation, basic living expenses, and social and cultural enrichment activities.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Stacy DeWitt, Executive Director of James Storehouse in Newbury Park, California. Stacy shared about their warehouse that supplies people in need – referred by social workers – with emergency supplies, as well as their three boutiques with supplies specifically for babies, children, and teenagers. They also provide support services for youth, including mentoring, life skills classes, baby showers, a leadership academy, and a transitional housing program. Finally, Stacy reviewed six protective factors that would help prevent the need for foster care if they were bolstered and supported among families in need.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Christina Dronen, Executive Director of Finally Family Homes in Valencia, California. We discussed their newest initiative, which is a “build to own” program in which youth aging out of care help build and then own their own tiny home on wheels. Christina explained how this model will enable youth to acquire equity in their own home quickly, which they can leverage when they are ready to move into a larger house. We also discussed their existing programs, including life skills workshops, a host home program, and providing money and material needs to youth in the area who need assistance.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Lisa Peat, Founder and Executive Director of The Taylor House in Roseville, California. We discussed their safe transition home for young ladies aging out of foster care. Lisa discussed the five key pillars that provide the structure of their program: employment, education, transportation, health and wellness, and budgeting and banking. We also discussed the importance of earlier intervention and family support as a way to improve the foster care system.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Colby Swettberg, CEO of Silver Lining Mentoring in Boston, MA. We discussed their award winning mentoring program for youth aging out of care. Colby reviewed their mentoring program, including an overview of their mentor training program, the qualities of effective mentors, their life skills program, and the critical importance of connections for youth. Colby also shared about the Silver Lining Institute, which provides consulting and guidance to other organizations building or expanding their own mentoring programs.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Britt Wade, Workforce Development Coordinator with Family Harvest Farm in Martinez, CA. We discussed their urban farm, which is a program under the umbrella of the John Muir Land Trust. At their farm, they employ youth aging out of foster care and teach them about sustainable farming. In their program, they build supportive relationships and help the youth derive meaning from their work by giving the food they grow to the local community. We also discussed ideas for the foster care system to help ensure that youth aging out of care are successful.
Family Harvest Farm
Lost Connections by Johann Hari
Dr. Gabor Mate’
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Workforce Connections – Key “Soft Skills”
Homeless Garden Project
Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman
American Horticultural Therapy Association
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Lauren Vazquez, Supervisor of the Adolescents Achieving Independence (AAI) program at Valley Youth House in Bethlehem, PA. We discussed AAI and the strategies they use as they serve as “adulting coaches” for foster youth and former foster youth between the ages of 14 to 23 years old. They focus their support in the domains of education, employment, housing, life skills, and permanency (relationships). We also discussed ideas for improving support for youth, including a year of transitional living in their senior year of high school and finding more foster parents willing to provide homes for older teens in foster care.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Amy Nims, Director of Foster Care, and Jennifer Schwitzgebel, Associate Director of Transition Age Youth Services, with The Buckeye Ranch in Whitehall, Ohio. We discussed two programs that support youth aging out of care: My Place transitional living and Bridges, a state partnership that provides funding for youth needs. We also discussed the need for the foster care system to empower youth to make more choices about their lives and how that might be accomplished.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Marcie Dearth, the Vice President of Residential Programs of IMPOWER in Longwood, Florida. We focused on their transitional housing program called The Village, which was developed as an extension of their mental health and child wellbeing core services. We also discussed opportunities for improvement of the foster care system, including more collaboration among organizations that serve these young people.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Leora Bain, the President and Founder of G.L.I.D.E. (Guiding Life to Independence through Development and Education) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This program currently assists youth with acquiring their legal documents as they are aging out of foster care. We also discussed the combined employment and housing model that they are planning to implement in the future, the importance of the term “interdependence,” and more.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Bria Zolman, the Guardian Scholars Program Coordinator at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. This program – which won the AOI 2021 Flame Award for small organizations – supports former foster youth through their experience at Ball State University. We discussed the services and activities that youth can leverage to help them achieve their degree, as well as ideas about what others who work with these youth can do to help prepare them for pursuing their higher education goals.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Jon Katov (CEO), Angie Williams (COO), and Rachelle Butler (Sr. Director of Community Initiatives) from The Open Table, an organization based in Phoenix, AZ, which won the 2021 Flame Award for small organizations. We discussed The Open Table model based on building relational permanency through a unique team support approach to help foster youth achieve their plan for transitioning to adulthood.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Andrea Ferrero, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Pockets Change, a nonprofit focused on building financial capability through Hip Hop pedagogy. Andrea shared information about a free event happening right now and into the summer (April through July) that includes online financial lessons, a song competition for young people, and a live streaming concert. (See podcast #4 for more details about Pockets Change.)
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Anne Harrison, Executive Director of The Monkey & The Elephant, a nonprofit café based in Philadelphia, PA, which won the 2021 Flame Award (for small organizations) and we wanted to highlight their award winning model. Anne’s organization runs a café that employs youth aging out of foster care. They also teach life skills and provide mentoring to help guide the youth toward their goals.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Don Wells, Chief Empowerment Officer of Just in Time for Foster Youth based in San Diego, California. JIT won the 2021 Fire Award (for mid-size organizations) and the 2021 Phoenix Award (for youth impact) and we wanted to highlight their award winning framework and services. Don explains JIT’s foundational philosophies, their services, and what they measure and track (including the one service that alumni of their program have said was the most critical service they received).
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Sue Evans, Chief Operating Officer of Walden Family Services based in San Diego, California. Walden Family Services won the 2021 Blaze Award for large organizations or programs that work with youth aging out of foster care and we wanted to highlight their award winning transitional housing program. Sue explains the details about their housing program in which they partner with community landlords and property management companies to provide housing and supportive case management for about 300 youth in the San Diego area.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Megan Preller, Program Coordinator of the Host Homes Program with Ready for Life based in Redding, California. Megan shares the origin of her agency, which was started by her parents. Megan also describes their host homes program, in which people in the community provide temporary housing for homeless young people, including youth who have aged out of foster care.