Strong Futures
Forestdale is committed to successful futures for young people

Youth aging out of foster care need love, resources and reassurance.  About 50% end up homeless or in jail within 3 years. 66% of young women in foster care will give birth between their 18th and 22nd birthdays. Former foster children with no college degree earn less than $14,000 a year. Life outcomes for kids leaving foster care must improve. Forestdale commits to making this happen.  

Forestdale’s Strong Futures Program helps young people develop into successful adults. Using a youth-driven model, we provide financial literacy courses, workshops on healthy relationships, trips to cultural events, and educational pre-college and college supports. Through the program, teenagers and young parents receive relationship and sexual health counseling so they learn to make informed decisions regarding their bodies.

Forestdale knows that education is the pathway to a successful life. Forestdale Scholars (FS) provides academic support for youth in foster care (grades 5-12+), to ensure that our adolescents see high-school (H.S.) graduation as a top priority and college graduation as an attainable goal. Our dedicated counselors  provide direct educational and college enrichment services to prepare youth for critical transition periods, such as high-school admissions and the college-application process, with individually customized assistance that respond to the individual needs of more than 100 youth, ages 12 to 21, annually including:

  • Educational group workshops including SAT & ACT prep,
  • Counseling,
  • One-on-one tutoring helps students improve their grades in Math, English, ESL (English as a second language), the Sciences, Economics, History, Social Studies, as well as their scores for the NYS Regents.
  • Brand new, fully stocked backpacks for more 700-750 grade, middle, and H.S. students annually
  • H.S. Equivalency (HSE) education/training (at our Forest Hills site)
  • College tours both in state and out of state at no charge for H.S. juniors & seniors,
  • College counseling for H.S. seniors including help filing for financial aid
  • Financial/material assistance for college students including books, laptops, and meal plans and more.

We also continue to provide our Scholars with several levels of ancillary supports including: workshops (financial literacy, career prep/employment), recreational activities & cultural trips (in partnership with Culture for One), one-on-one guidance and referral to additional Forestdale programs (i.e. Life Coaching, Strong Futures Paid Internship(SFI), Strong Futures Pregnancy Prevention, Evidence-based Mental Health interventions, Career Counseling, and Medical & Dental care), and Entitlement assistance, to ensure a robust, holistic, and worthwhile program experience.

As a result of all of these efforts, in FY 2018, approximately 26 of our youth are attending college, twice the number compared with just a few years ago.

Strong Futures Internship transitions foster youth successfully into the workforce, offering our adolescents, and young adults paid internships in information technology, administrative services, childcare, peer health education, culinary arts, automotive work, and maintenance. We are pleased to report that Forestdale has worked with more than 92 young adults from September 2016 to June 2018; over 85% completed the internship. Graduates indicated an increase in self-confidence and job skills, and supervisors reported that participants improved their capacity to perform job tasks and augmented communication skills with supervisors and co-workers.  In July 2018, we began our fifth cohort with 25 interns.  After completing SFI, our participants transitioned back into school full-time or unsubsidized employment.

Forestdale’s Life Coaching program is geared towards young people ages 11-24 who have exited or are in the process of exiting foster care, and uses the power of one-on-one guidance to help them improve skills in areas that are necessary to the transition into adulthood. The program focuses on connecting teens and young adults to positive influences while diverting them from negative ones. Youth and young adults choose short- and long- term goals and then work with trained coaches to design a realistic plan that advances their life goals. This program helps them to fulfill their desires to live healthy, vibrant, prosperous, and happy lives.

Forestdale ensures that young people are financially empowered, by providing individually tailored approaches to assess job readiness, sharpen interview skills, and find career-track employment.

For more information contact Danielle Brown Fuller at dfuller@forestdaleinc.org.

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