PREPARING FOSTER YOUTH FOR ADULTING
Show notes and recordings of AOI’s podcasts from 2023 are below (episodes 066-TBD).
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.
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
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
In this episode, Lynn Tonini facilitates a conversation between three individuals connected with organizations that help youth aging out of foster care find and maintain housing: Betty Beatty with Empty Frames Initiative (Everett, WA), Carla Cleeton with the Transition Resource Action Center – TRAC (Dallas, TX), and Angela Youtsey with Olive Crest (Silverdale, WA). During this conversation, we talked about different strategies to help foster youth find and keep their own housing after leaving care. We also discussed ideas for improvements to the foster care system that would help youth be better prepared for getting their own place to live.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Nicole Davis, Executive Director of Operation: Achieve Independence (OAI) located in Spring, TX. We discussed Nicole’s background and the journey that brought her to working with youth aging out of foster care. We then talked about OAI’s strategy for providing caring mentors for youth and developing strong partnerships with other organizations and agencies to be able to provide a spectrum of services. Their primary programs address financial support for youth in transitional living situations, and helping youth with educational and career preparation.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini facilitates a conversation between three individuals connected with organizations that provide transitional housing for youth aging out of care: Mike Williams with DASH Foundation (Miami, FL), Shiesha Bell with LIFE Skills Foundation (Durham, NC), and Aundre’ Wright with Adonai Transitional Housing (Phoenix, AZ). During this conversation, we discussed what their organizations do for foster youth, specifically their different transitional housing models and strategies. We also discussed the new and creative transitional housing options that are growing in popularity, such as tiny homes and container homes.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Miss Carmelita Coleman, Executive Director of Strong Able Youth Speaking Out (SaySo) in Greensboro, NC. We discussed Miss Carmelita’s background and what brought her to working with foster youth. We then talked about the SaySo organization and how it provides foster youth with opportunities to develop leadership and life skills by being involved in advocacy and running events. Finally, we discussed opportunities for improvements to how the foster care system prepares youth for adulthood.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini facilitates a conversation between three individuals connected with organizations that support youth aging out of foster care by helping them build financial competency: Michael Williams with DASH Foundation (Miami, FL), Eugenia Wilson with Living Advantage, Inc. (Hollywood, CA), and Andrea Ferrero-Haggerty with Pockets Change (Brooklyn, NY). During this conversation, we discussed what their organizations do for foster youth, specifically the strategies to help foster youth appreciate how managing finances can help them reach their individual goals. We also discussed the importance of good credit, critical life documents, debt management, and the support to help these youth build their financial skillset.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini facilitates a conversation between three individuals connected with organizations that support youth aging out of foster care by helping them reach their education goals: Elizabeth Bruchez with DPHHS (Lewistown MT), Stephen Coop with Reach Higher Montana (Helena, MT), and Kate Danielson with Foster Progress (Chicago, IL). During this conversation, we discussed what their organizations do for youth, how the Chafee program works and the funds that Chafee provides, the challenges that foster youth face in reaching their education goals, and strategies to help them overcome those hurdles.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini facilitates a conversation between three individuals who work with youth aging out of foster care by employing and mentoring them in a coffee shop: Bethany Priebe with Cultivate Coffee (Phoenix, AZ), Emily Schidt with The Cracked Pot Coffee Shop (Mechanicsburg, PA), and Kamal Marell with The Monkey & The Elephant (Philadelphia, PA). During this conversation, we discussed this particular nonprofit model and how each organization applies strategies to support youth aging out of foster care, helping them learn employment skills and prepare for the next steps as adults.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Ashlee Briddell, CEO and Founder of HomeSweetHome Foundation in Hagerstown, MD. We discussed Ashlee’s background in foster care herself and her educational achievements despite her challenges. We then talked about her motivation to start HomeSweetHome as a way to help foster youth with housing supplies, mental health support, financial competency, and connecting with other resources they need. Finally, we discussed opportunities for improvements to the foster care system and how they prepare youth aging out of foster care.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Dr. Ashley Cross, Executive Director of The Hub585, Inc. in Rochester, NY. We started the interview with an interesting discussion about the importance of hope and resiliency and how they are connected with relationships. We then talked about The Hub585 and the different tiers of support they provide youth and their various programs, including participation in an online Care Portal on which that a network of churches and community organizations use to address youths’ needs, a group mentoring model, financial support when youth age out, a summer camp for system involved youth, and more.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Eric Gilmore, Executive Director of Immerse Arkansas in Little Rock. Started in 2010, Immerse Arkansas has been building a continuum of support for foster youth age 14-18 and youth who have aged out between the ages of 18-24 years old. They provide transitional living opportunities that include a variety of housing options (homes, apartments, etc.). They have staff that provide 24/7 assistance and coaching for the youth to help them prepare for independent living. They also have a pregnancy support program.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini facilitates a conversation between three individuals who work with youth aging out of foster care: Cheryl Williams, Founder and Executive Director of Fundamentals for Foster Care (San Antonio, TX); Erin NeSmith, Founder and Lead Coach of Grow Into You Foundation (Brandon, FL); and Ed Hajim, Author and Chairman of High Vista (Key Largo, FL). During this conversation, we discussed effective strategies to help older foster youth – and those who have aged out – learn coping skills that will help them strengthen their resiliency and their ability to manage through the difficult times in their lives.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Barbara Sabol, Senior Advisor of Home Work USA in Lawrence, Kansas. At 85 years old, Barbara is helping to launch an intentional, tiny home community for youth aging out of foster care that is designed to help give them a safe, affordable housing option so that they can get their adult lives started with a greater sense of security. Their community is being built on 22 rural acres and will have 15 tiny homes available for rent soon (they have 10 now). They will house young people aged 18 to 26 years old. Lynn and Barbara also discuss bigger picture improvements of the foster care system, including improved communication with youth, preparing them for adulthood earlier, and ensuring that caseworkers have a reasonable case load.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini facilitates a conversation between three individuals who work with youth aging out of foster care: Erica Anderson, Founder of We Inspire Greatness (Kansas City, MO), Irving Chavez, Chief Impact Officer at Just in Time for Foster Youth (San Diego, CA), and Ben McBride, Executive Director of I Pour Life (Springfield, MO). During this conversation, we discussed effective strategies to help older foster youth – and those who have aged out – learn how to make decisions that will get them to their individual goals and dreams.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Aundre’ Wright, Co-Founder and CEO of Adonai Transitional Housing in Phoenix, Arizona. Aundre’ explains his organization’s history and partnership with the state of Arizona to provide transitional housing for young adults in the extended foster care program. Their housing options include four homes and one apartment complex (two triplexes) in various locations. (They use one of the apartments in the triplexes for foster youth and the rest they rent out to the public, which provides an income for the program.) Lynn and Aundre’ also discuss a couple of opportunities for improving how the system prepares youth for aging out of care.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini facilitates a conversation between the Executive Directors from three different organizations that serve youth aging out of foster care: Rachael Smith with Hope and Vine (Wake Forest, NC), Susan Punnett with Family & Youth Initiative (Washington, D.C.), and Ben McBride with I Pour Life (Springfield, MO). We discussed the barriers that need to be addressed to help build relationships between youth and supportive adults, the strategies that can be used to mitigate those barriers, and the training that their staff and volunteers go through to understand how to facilitate the relationships.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Penny Ellison, Executive Director of Hand2Paw in Philadelphia. PA. Penny shared about the programs they offer for youth – age 16 to 24 – who are experiencing housing insecurity or are in or aging out of foster care. Their unique, strengths-based programs (“Unleashing Opportunities,” “Pawspurr,” and “WordReady”) provide opportunities for these youth to build life skills and character while working with and helping the animals of Philadelphia that also need support and love.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Meredith Yuckman, Executive Director of The Hope Center at Pullen in Raleigh, NC. Meredith shared about their life skills program for youth ages 13-18 and their transition program for youth ages 18-24. They also have a Youth Advisory Board made up of youth currently in (or graduated from) their transition program that provides feedback and recommendations about the services that they offer youth. For example, the Youth Advisory Board was the catalyst for the development of a new staff doula program to provide better support for young mothers during the childbirth process.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Justin Black, Co-founder of Redefining Normal in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Justin shared a little about his journey with his wife, Alexis, in foster care and the lessons they learned aging out of care that have contributed to their success as authors, speakers, and workshop leaders throughout the country. Justin discussed some of the principles that they have included in their book and workshops, including (but not limited to) living intentionally, forgiveness, and resilience. Finally, Lynn and Justin talked about the importance of encouraging foster youth to dream again.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Carolyn Olsen, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Fostering Youth Independence in Santa Clarita, California. Carolyn shared how her organization supports youth aging out of care by connecting them with allies (mentors) whose primary focus is building a strong, supportive relationship with the youth. Carolyn also reviewed the variety of activities that they have built into their program to help the young people as they work toward their educational goals. Finally, Lynn and Carolyn discussed the important role that nonprofits play in filling the gaps that aren’t currently filled by the foster care system.
In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Amanda Ricken Simonetta with The Felix Organization, Trinity Bailey with Music is Unity Foundation, and LaTasha Watts with The Purple Project to learn about the 2023 Level Up Conference for youth in foster care and those who have aged out (ages 14-24). This virtual conference is being held on February 9th from 3:00pm-5:00pm EST. We also talk about the key challenges that youth aging out of foster care face. Listen to find out more about these organizations, the conference itself, and how to register for this online learning experience. [NOTE: The conference dates mentioned in this podcast were changed. The conference is on 2/9/23 and the registration deadline is 2/3/23.]