Unlimited Possibilities for Youth                          

Every year in the United States, over 20,000 youth transition or “age out” of the foster care system. Many are only 18 years old and still in need of support and services; and without a lifelong connection to a caring adult, they are vulnerable to a host of adverse outcomes, such as unemployment and homelessness.

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UP4Youth

Our UP4Youth program (Unlimited Possibilities for Youth) supports these young adults (ages 16-26) during this vulnerable time to help counter these negative effects, teaching them basic life skills and connecting them to the resources they need to reach their fullest potential. The ultimate goal of the program is to help youth build the personal life skills necessary for a successful transition to adulthood, employment, and a lifelong network of peers and mentors to help them along the way.
Through an individualized, youth-driven approach to case management, UP4Youth offers structure, support, and guidance in creating short- and long-term goals that help youth achieve self-determination and self-sufficiency. There are four primary components to the program: resource coordination, educational planning, employment, and mentoring.

Resource Coordination

Youth are provided with individualized assessments to determine their self-sufficiency needs, including housing, financial resources, education, employment, and, for those young adults who are parenting, child care.

Employment

Youth are provided with opportunities for paid “earn and learn” work experience within our organization or through employment services offered by other organizations (such as summer youth employment). Youth age 16-17 must have a current work permit. We will help them get one if needed. Employment readiness workshops, career exploration field trips, resume development, and interviewing practice help youth build the confidence and competencies they need for future employment success.

Education Planning

Whether it’s a plan to finish high school, gain a GED, enroll in a vocational training program, or get a degree, using assessment and career guidance, our staff help youth in foster care set short- and long-term educational goals.

Mentoring

Youth ages 16-26 are connected with mentors whose goal is to help youth manage the transitions on the path to becoming independent adults, particularly as it is related to educational attainment and employment. A relationship with a committed, caring mentor can expand a young person’s knowledge of available resources and opportunities; inspire, support and guide a youth in achieving his/her goals; help him/her find and access resources to achieve those goals; model communication, problem-solving and decision-making strategies; and facilitate the development of life skills that they will benefit from throughout adulthood. Mentoring is provided through one-to-one, small group, and large group activities. Mentors become a vital part of a youth’s support network that can continue on past their participation in the program. These relationships can have powerful positive effects in a variety of personal, academic, and professional areas.  If you are interested in becoming a mentor, contact us here.
UP4Youth participants may focus on the component(s) of the program most beneficial to them, and all services are designed to provide a level of personal autonomy many have never experienced before. Our team conducts a thorough interview and assessments with each youth participant, and together we identify their strengths, abilities, needs, and goals. An individualized success plan is then created with the youth and put into action. If you are a current or former youth in foster care and would like to get involved, click here.
Volunteers: If you are not ready to become a mentor, but want to share your knowledge and expertise as a guest presenter in one of our workshops, we would love to hear from you. Primary topics of interest include job readiness, financial management, education preparation, and subject matter expertise in various occupations and industries. UP4Youth serves youth throughout Los Angles and Long Beach areas. For more information or additional volunteer opportunities, contact us at 213-365-2900 or info@extraordinaryfamilies.org.