From the desk of Kim Golter
The cornerstone of Jeremiah's Promise has been to prepare former foster youth for a future of hope and promise as we cultivate youth empowerment, accomplish academic and career goals and achieve emotional healing and healthy coping skills in young adults who have aged out of foster care between the ages of 18 and 21 years old.
This is no straightforward task as these emerging adults often make decisions from a much younger viewpoint, making them prone to unwise and potentially catastrophic actions. Adding to the complexity of their situation is the lack of an adequate educational foundation for many of them. For a high percentage, much of their time in the foster system could be described as bleak, unloving and even abusive. It's hard to focus on the building blocks of math, English or science when you're frightened about what's waiting for you at home. There is a lot of catching up to do. California's college system has acknowledged a role they may play in this through academic tutoring, counseling and offering refresher courses. But there is more being done.
The College of San Mateo and at West Valley College have partnered with us to allow us to provide free workshops on campus to former foster youth and to those students who suffered abuse but were never placed in foster care.
Our role is simple. The essential outcome of the Jeremiah's Promise workshops, indeed in all of our programming, is to overcome negative belief structures and corresponding self-destructive patterns of behavior. Our 501(c)(3) nonprofit assists these emerging adults in building positive relationships and a supportive community. We encourage them when they feel defeated and guide them toward further education and higher paying jobs.
To do this, we utilize three touch points: 1) college-based workshops and one-to-one coaching; 2) specialized mentoring; and 3) no-cost, interactive, step-by-step, web-based coaching.
Here are comments from those with whom we have interacted: "I liked the testimony of the (former JP) girl. It gave me hope." Another former foster youth practically jumped out of her seat near the end of one of the workshops. As this previously - and noticeably - recalcitrant young lady bounced up and down with uncontrolled excitement, gesturing for impact, she exclaimed, "This hit me! It hit me hard! It went deep! I could feel it, and now it's going to push me forward. I'm not going to forget it. I'm putting this on Instagram right now!"
After a session on forgiveness, one young person noted thoughtfully, "I really enjoyed the positive atmosphere. The information was well thought out. The instructor was very entertaining." One of the guys added, "The speaker was great, and I liked how she can relate (to us) with her personal stories." Further remarks about what is most appreciated have been: "they had good ways to relate to us", "this is completely relevant to my stress at the moment", and, finally, "the topics are challenging, but I feel peace here like I don't feel anywhere else."
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you," says the Lord, "thoughts of peace and not of evil; to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11, New Spirit-Filled Life NKJV)