On the Grid: Tier 1 – TransitionRich Stigall
In American culture, it is one of the few universally esteemed milestones of accomplishment and maturation. For many, it is representative of more than past efforts: it is a symbol of the road ahead, a springboard into the future. The day of graduation often seems like a cocktail of relief and anxiety, of elation and fear. The next day must cometh, and with it, a new road.
Imagine walking that forthcoming road alone. For many a high school graduate, how difficult would trade school or a college education be without the dedicated support of a parent? How different would life have been for you without aid from a loved one?
It is an unfortunate reality for many of those aging out of foster care. After lingering in the child welfare system, one is legally obligated to leave the system at a certain age, forging a path without a sense of community or family. Forget financial readiness – the transition from youth to young adult can be a difficult transition for a person of any background. For those without a support system, the challenges are exacerbated.
On The Grid, the Tier 1 – Transition box seeks to aid those aging out of foster care. There are countless opportunities to assist those emerging from the child welfare system: this box is dedicated to the provision of physical goods and services to equip the child turned young adult. If this box had to be given a name, it would be called self-sufficiency contributions.
CarePortal requests are already identifying the need for the church to aid those without community. In one request, an 18-year-old female was in need of a table, four chairs, and a dresser. In another request, a 19-year-old female was in need of $90 to rent a U-Haul and to store her belongings. In another case, an 18-year-old male needed funds for transportation to and from his foster home placement to his place of employment. All represent tangible goods and services to equip these youth for life after the system. We celebrate that the Church met these needs and provided one stepping stone on the larger road to transition.
There is a whole community of individuals who are in need of aid, of love, of community. If the church does not dare to engage, who else will be voices of hope in their lives? Who else will recognize their dignity and their value as a creation of God? Jesus modeled a life of reaching the so-called untouchables: healing the leper, speaking to the Samaritan, and dining with the tax collector. He better than anyone else recognized their need for a voice of truth, of affirmation, of love.
And church, we are His ambassadors.