Do you remember how excited you were when it was time to get ready for college? You were able to pack everything you needed with the help of your parents or caregivers. Graduating high school is a major life transition and it helps if you have support.
Unfortunately, for some young adults in foster care, they do not have the the support or financial means to get the bare necessities to start their transition into college and/or adulthood. Very few are capable of establishing a successful independent life without family or community support.
At a time when many parents help their children navigate every twist and turn of their academic lives, former and current foster youth have a particularly difficult road. If they don’t have a parental figure to guide them, they’re often left on their own to maneuver through the maze of college applications and financial aid paperwork.
Some states are stepping up efforts to give them more guidance and support.
The Knighten Project is bringing back Packing with Purpose College Donation Drive
Our goal is to provide a brand new suitcase filled with basic necessities to 50 young adults who are transitioning out of the foster care system in Tampa, FL. and headed to college.
According to the most recent research, less than 10 percent of foster youth graduate from college. There are practical and effective ways to meet the needs of college bound foster youth and change their outcomes to increase their chances of becoming successful adults and fulfilling their own dreams.
What Does it Mean to be in Foster Care?
The U.S. foster care system was designed to temporarily protect and nurture children whose parents are unable or unwilling to care for them, until those parents become stronger, healthier and in a position to provide a safe loving home for their children. Sadly, too many children spend years in “the system,” moving from foster home to group home to foster home, and from one school district to another. They may never feel stable or connected and lacking the family and community ties that are so critical to young adults learning to make their own way in the world. Source
Generally speaking, foster youth age out of the system at 18, with no backup services to ease them into adulthood. That can make for an abrupt transition. Fortunately, a federal law was passed in 2008 which allows states to choose to extend foster care benefits for youth up to age 21 and receive funding for it. There are currently 21 states which offer these expanded benefits.
More than Money
“There are no parents, no one to help them. They drop out and do other things.”
The vast majority of kids in foster care want to attend college. But research shows that foster youth are much less likely to go to college than other high school graduates. One review of multiple studies estimated that approximately 20 percent of foster youth who graduate from high school attend college, compared with 60 percent of high school graduates overall.
National studies have shown that within two to four years of leaving foster care at age 18:
- 40% were homeless
- 40% were receiving public assistance or were incarcerated
- 40% experienced drug or alcohol abuse
- 46% had not finished high school
- 51% were unemployed
- 84% became parents
Packing with Purpose College Bound Donation Drive
We will be donating these suitcases to these young adults who are aging out and headed to college. We want to be a blessing and let them know that someone cares for them.
These young adults are special and deserving of gifts, blessings, and surprises and we want them to feel that way as they transition into adulthood.
OUR GOAL: 50 suitcases and/or $5,000 to fill them up.
We are asking for donations for suitcases and all of the items that will go inside of it. We’ve also created an Amazon Wish List page (that we are constantly updating) for you to purchase items and send them directly to us. Please contact us if you want to donate a suitcase or any of the items in person or if you want to SPONSOR A SUITCASE.
Please send all donations by June 30th. If you have any questions please email us at Dream@TheKnightenProject.org or comment in the section below.