The Transitional Independent Living System of Care in Broward County, FL is designed to:
(1) assist teens ages 13 to 17 who are in foster care to prepare for adulthood and
(2) provide assistance and a safety net for the youth that have aged out of foster care at age 18 until they turn 23 years old.
In terms of achieving successful independence, adolescents who come of age in the foster care system are at a severe disadvantage. They are less likely to be adopted. They become involved in the criminal justice system at disproportionately high rates, and are at higher risk for depending on welfare or even becoming homeless.
Pass It On is partnering with agencies across Broward County to increase awareness and provide new and improved programming to teenagers aging out of foster care.
Pass It On is constantly working to educate teenagers in Broward County and assist in motivating at-risk teenagers to achieve higher education. Pass It On offers scholarships for college expenses. Pass It On has also worked with local artists to encourage teenagers in foster care to engage in dialogue through art and artwork, and has exhibited their artwork at the annual Wine & Jazz fundraising event.
Pass It On assists young adults who are transitioning from foster care into independent living (TIL Population) with job skills training and development. In March 2010, Pass It On held a Career Week partnering with BankAtlantic, Broward Health, City Furniture, and the Federal Courthouse to host teenagers from the Boys and Girls Club and the FLITE Center. Participants were introduced to new career paths and learned about the hiring process and what it takes to land a job with some of South Florida’s major employers.
Pass It On developed STEP (Skills Training and Employment Program), an enhanced educational program designed for the TIL Population that introduces the young adults to professionals from various industries for an interactive career skills development program. Through STEP, teens have an opportunity to learn a variety of career skills, including resume writing, interviewing, communicating effectively, and managing priorities. Pass It On held the initial STEP in October 2011 to rave reviews from both participants and employers.
Following up on the success of the first STEP, in September 2012, Pass It On partnered with 4 KIDS, HOMES, inc., and JAFCO to bring youth transitioning to Independent Living together for the second Skills Training and Employment Program. City Furniture hosted the training at their corporate offices, and professionals from City Furniture, Sun Trust Bank, the Broward Sheriff’s Office, and Atlantic Technical Center gave excellent presentations.
STEP 2012 was particularly exciting as there were many high energy adult volunteer mentors from the community to work with the youth 1:1. When participants were asked for their feedback at the conclusion of the program, they commented that the knowledge they gained improved their skills as well as their self-confidence.
We welcome more volunteers for future programs. If you are interested in becoming part of STEP or for more information, contact Steve Wernick, at 786.208.0753, or Ellie Nelson-Wernick, at email@example.com.