On The Grid: Tier 2 – TransitionRich Stigall
“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you…I could walk through my garden forever.” – Alfred, Lord Tennyson
In our last discussion of opportunities to aid those transitioning out of the foster care system, we assessed the opportunities to provide physical goods and services to equip those emerging out of the foster care system. You can refer to our original discussion of Tier 1 – Transition here>>
Lord Tennyson’s words spark thoughts of bountiful and barren. We see the garden of friendship, thriving with the bloom of colorful memories and seeds of the anticipated joys of shared lives. It was that shrewd spider Charlotte who noted, “You have been my friend….that in itself is a tremendous thing.”
Yet, imagine the prospect of transition without a network of support. Forget biology: without any sort of community, what are the prospects for an individual who lingered in the foster care system for years without the assurance of being wanted? What a tragic thought to feel as if the world has forgotten you! The barrenness of this garden is unyielding in its discouragement. There seems to be an incredible relational gap, and while jobs and opportunity are important next steps, the spotlight of consequence fails to gravitate away from relationship.
Tier 2 – Transition highlights the efforts to create a support network for youth preparing to transition out of the foster care system. There are a number of opportunities to engage, with backgrounds of all kinds offering important skills and, most importantly, presence. These opportunities include helping with financial literacy, helping with college applications and other admission processes, helping with opening a bank account or learning to cook or creating a résumé. If this box had to be given a name, it would be called Empowerment through Community.
Some organizations are already choosing to engage in this space. In Kansas City, non-profit YOUTHrive is “focused on empowering and supporting our foster youth as they transition to adulthood.” This organization is keenly aware of the challenges to equip foster youth during the transition to independence, and their approach openly acknowledges the need for a team of individuals to wrap their arms around a foster youth in order to provide guidance, mentorship, and support. Opportunities to engage are nearly limitless. Whatever life experiences you’ve had, God has equipped you to share with another! It’s no mystery why God designed the one body to have many parts. For more information on the great work at YOUTHrive, please visit their website at www.youthrive.org.
We pray that the body of believers would seek to aid those in need of community. For this act of sacrifice is really an act of love, and Jesus states in John 13, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Care to learn more about building a network of support in your community? Contact us here>> for more information.