Blueprints’ Independent Living program provides guidance to young people, aged 14 to 21, who are adjudicated dependent and/or delinquent. Life skills training, case management, mentoring and support help young people work toward their life goals, build self-reliance and self-confidence. Many young people “age out” of the child welfare system – that is, they become adults while in foster care. Blueprints helps prepare them for life success by helping them gain the skills required for adulthood. We help them with transitions aligned with their own goals – whether that’s moving them into their own apartments, applying for and moving to college, or securing employment.
Research shows that one in three young people will grow up without mentoring relationships, which can have powerful positive effects on personal, academic and professional life. Children who grow up in the child welfare system need mentors and strong role models even more. Blueprints believes that mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter. Our Mentoring Initiative connects young people to “experts,” that is, alumni of our Independent Living program who have experienced success as adults. Our “Mentor Mingle” event, scheduled next month, will help match our youth with one of five Alumni Volunteer Mentors. Alumni Volunteer Mentors have successfully transitioned from foster care and the child welfare system. Who better to understand the obstacles and challenges our youth will face as they become adults?
Our mentoring program is just one of the innovative programs created by our dedicated and creative staff to break barriers and build futures.