What is the FPC Hope Center?
The FPC Hope Center’s mission is to assist youth in successfully transitioning out of foster care by providing a safe and supportive space and connection to a caring network of supports, services, and partners. Underlying this work is a commitment to “filling the gaps” and building partnerships across sectors to improve outcomes for youth as pathways to education, employment, and independence. The FPC Hope Center’s target population is 18 to 25 year olds who have aged out of foster/kinship care.
Why is the FPC Hope Center’s mission important?
Young adults who have aged out of care:
- are twice more likely to suffer from PTSD than combat veterans
- one in two will develop substance dependence
- seven in ten girls will become pregnant before the age of 21
What does FPC Hope Center’s pilot program look like?
FPC Hope Center will partner with the Mission West Virginia Bridge Program. The Mission West Virginia Bridge Program assists high school students who are in foster care develop skills to pursue a post-secondary education plan. However, the mentorship ends upon graduation. Mission West Virginia and the FPC Hope Center will create a “warm hand off” to further their mentorship through their post-secondary education goals. FPC Hope Center will create a network of responsible mentors to support these youth aging out of foster care, giving them the opportunity to realize their greatest potential and shape a successful future.
Strategies will include training sessions for the youth and mentors as well as hands on help. The majority of the students will be enrolled in a four year or community college. So, the services will primarily take place virtually. Much of the service will be informal, listening to the students, done individually by phone or Zoom; advising them in regard to their needs and concerns; and checking in with them to make sure the youth know they have a caring adult they can rely on. Providing care packages, coaching, someone to talk to/discuss problems with; cooking lessons/assistance, regular check-ins, and bills and money management assistance are a few of the strategies to be included.
How many young adults will participate in the pilot program and where do they live?
The pilot program will serve twelve young adults from Kanawha County. If the pilot program is successful, FPC Hope Center could expand to serve Boone, Clay and/or Putnam counties.
When will the FPC Hope Center’s pilot program start?
The pilot program will start April 2023.
How can you get involved?
Formal recruitment for mentors will begin in January 2023. On February 28 at 5:30pm in room 412 of First Presbyterian Church Charleston, a brief training will be conducted for those interested in serving as mentors and learn how to become a Hope Builder. Donations are always welcomes and appreciated, contact Becky Ceperley at email@example.com. Be on the lookout for future fundraising events.