She sounded desperate. “I need to talk. I have some decisions to make, and I don’t have anyone else to turn to.” This young lady always seemed upbeat and never asked for help, but she was at a major crossroad, uncertain how to navigate the next turn. It was late Saturday when she called. We met the next day for breakfast. She just toyed with her food.
She had a lot on mind. “I have to move. I don’t have anywhere to go yet and nobody to help me. I don’t have a car. If I move out of the county to be closer to campus, then the county I move from won’t be able to help with my rent anymore. Plus I’m so busy with my volunteer work and my paying job, and I’ve spent so much time looking for a place I can afford that I don’t think I can continue with the career I wanted. It takes too much education, it's expensive and it'll take me so long to complete my degree. I’m so tired. And I’m worried about my brother.” She burst into tears. It was too much at one time.
We examined her options carefully and worked through as much as we could in one meeting. She agreed to keep her focus on her current career path because that was her passion. Her eyes lit up just talking about it. She had some places to check out to rent, and I promised the use of my car and my back to help her move.
This young lady is one of many transition-age foster youth whose futures are at stake. They’re beautiful, tender, love-starved young women and men. We’re eager to help each one of them outsmart their challenges, discover their best attributes, and align their activities with their purpose so they can reach out when they’re ready and help someone else who needs a little lovin’.
This year we’ve been reaching out, too. We’ve applied16 years of experience and a remarkably effective tool to achieve greater impact. Our tool is like no other in that it can take worn out, frightened, exasperated kids and revitalize their lives. It can reach places they’re not ready to let others into. It strategically and methodically guides them. Like an interactive GPS, it moves them forward day by day to overcome issues that trip them up, preventing them being who they’re meant to be and doing what they love most.
Sure, our conversations help, yet it’s been the daily discipline of our step-by-step, behavioral navigation tool that convinced the gal above that she could trust our advice when she needed it most. And, yes, there was a navigation we recommended that guided her toward the outcome that has kept her on target and able to work through her very real dilemmas, including her relationship with her brother who also was in foster care.
The tool used by this amazing young woman, and many others like her, is exceptional for people who are determined not to give up on their future. It reaches depths of sustainable guidance that no one has been able to tap into before. It cuts through complex situations with action-based solutions. It’s measurable, scaleable and mobile.
It’s available all day and especially late at night when their minds start racing and their hearts are thudding, but mentors are fast asleep. It offers real hope. It allows them to encourage others they may never have met but who are facing similar situations.
We’ve been using this tool successfully with our teens and young adults who’ve had a history of childhood trauma. We’re aiming to support another 1000 youth in the next year. That’s our goal: deep, targeted, sustainable support of foster and at-risk youth who are making the arduous trek to adulthood.
Oh, about the gal's move? She made it! Would you believe it rained all afternoon and evening?! Four carloads and lots of stairs later we got her settled into a tiny place in San Francisco. I mean tiny! Still, it was a safe walking distance to the university, and her roommate seemed pretty nice. She was relieved. So was I!