Young Women - Transitional Housing and Education Program

****(NO LONGER ACCEPTING NEW RESIDENTS)****

CULTIVATING SELF-SUFFICIENT AND CAPABLE YOUNG WOMEN

At the YWCA, we know that the best chance for each young woman to reach her goals is to stay in school.  In our Transitional Housing and Education Program, we provide young women who are former foster youth with a home, food, social support and workforce/educational development services for up to 2 ½ years while they attend school full-time, work part-time, save for their future and attend life skills classes.  Young women graduate from our program with a degree or professional certification and develop the background on which they can build a satisfying career and independence.

Resident Profile

Former foster youth

Single women without children

Between the ages of 18 and 22

Academically / vocationally motivated

Invested in working part-time and saving 50% of income

Dedicated to personal growth

Free of drugs and alcohol

Committed to long term planning

Residence

Residents live in our 5,000 square foot, beautifully renovated home that is part of the YWCA complex.  Residents share a bedroom (1 roommate) and common areas such as a kitchen, living room, TV room and computer room.  On-site staff provides 24-hour guidance.  Our home is 1 block from Santa Monica College, near bus stops, employment opportunities and recreational activities.

Life Skills 
Residents are offered a variety of life skills classes to help them work towards independence and self-sufficiency.

  • Healthcare and Well-Being: Westside Family Health Center provides comprehensive, high quality, cost-effective healthcare plan in an educational and supportive environment that empowers patients to take an assertive role in caring for their well-being through all stages of life.

 

  • Counseling Services: Counseling services are provided by A Home Within, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality therapists and seeking to heal the chronic loss experienced by foster and former foster youth.

 

  • Financial Literacy: We work with community organizations and professional volunteers to bring a dynamic series of financial literacy classes that help residents develop solid financial practices, discipline and responsibility that will serve them throughout adulthood. For example, The Los Angeles Urban League’s Individual Development Account Program is a matched savings program that allows residents to save money in special custodial accounts, the “match” providing an incentive to continue saving for an extended period of time. After completion of savings, residents can use their money along with the match for a qualified purchase of business or educational pursuits.

 

  • Legal Assistance: The Alliance for Children’s Rights helps to guide youth ages 16 to 24 through the difficult transition from foster care to independence by educating them about their legal rights and responsibilities and empowering them with skill building workshops and access to resources.  The Allies Mentoring Program is designed to further support these youth by providing them with caring, consistent, adult role models who will help empower them to make good decisions and set attainable life goals. Workshops provided by the Alliance for Children’s Rights include: Identity Theft, Credit Card Leases and Contracts, Car Purchase, Budgeting, Consumer Rights and Public Benefits
  • Community Volunteers: We are also fortunate to work with motivated community volunteers to educate program residents on a myriad of topics, including insurance, tax preparation, interview skills, job search, budgeting, savings account/interest, goal-setting, coupon shopping and more.

Realizing Their Dreams

Residents have attended UCLA, CSUDH, CSUN, CSULB, CSULA, Santa Monica College and the Art Institute of L.A. 100% of our graduates have earned a college degree or professional certification.

  • are homeless 0%
  • have earned a high school diploma 100%
  • have earned a vocational degree 22%
  • have earned an Associate’s degree 75%
  • have earned a Bachelor’s degree 50%
  • have earned advanced degrees 15%
  • are employed and making $19/hour* 85%

*on average (Vital Research, July 2012)

Former foster youth from Los Angeles County can access information about various resources through: www.ilponline.org

The Story of a Graduate

We are happy to announce that another one of our young women has successfully left the nest and is off to Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.  After entering our program a year and a half ago, she reached her goal of completing her AA degree and transferring to a four year college.  We recently spoke with her about her new college experience and this is what she had to say:

Q:  How are you adjusting to college life?

A:  I kind of feel like I’m still back home, because I have the same studious habits.  I have developed a certain discipline for myself that keeps me focused and balanced.  I have fallen in love with the Spelman atmosphere.  The air is full of success, you just feel it.  They don’t allow you to fail out here. Everyone hustles to the max because there is so much to be expected of you as a “Spelmanite.”

 

Q:  What class do you enjoy the most?

A:  I’m sorry; I can’t decide.  I love three of my classes!  My management class, Spanish class, and my ADW (African Diaspora and the World) class.  These classes inspire me to do great things and to expand my mind because I have the potential to expand beyond my wildest dreams.  I always thought that I wasn’t good at retaining information, but these classes are showing me that I have the capability to not only retain this information but understand the information that I am receiving.The management class is teaching me to be an employer and not an employee. It’s teaching me to keep focus on my goals in life. The Spanish class is teaching me to not limit myself.  I am learning to create a bond and connection with others in many places of the world.  So I am learning to be more diverse and it’s inspiring me to learn other languages as well. Lastly, the ADW class is teaching me to understand my history and who I am as an African American Woman.  The first statement made in class by my instructor was:  “Know who you are before they tell you.”  Those powerful words have had me thinking from the very first day of class.

 

Q:  Have you made any new friends?

A:  Yes!  I have made a ton of friends, but unfortunately they all have boyfriends and stuff so we don’t hang out as much as I would like.  However, the guys are the business!  Well, at least the ones that I have met so far.  They are extremely nice and help me out a lot when I need them.

 

Q:  What has been the best food or meal you’ve had so far?

A: I haven’t fallen in love with the food yet.  Food is food for me right now.  The Cafeteria is okay.  I really like their soul food days because I love soul food!

 

Q:  How is the weather?

A:  The weather sucks!  It’s hot and then sometimes it rains and it’s still hot.  I really don’t like it, because it’s unpredictable.  However, the good part is that it is always warm.

 

Q:  When will you be back for a visit?

A:  My plan for visitation is Christmas. I want to fly out as soon as finals are over.

 

Q:  What has been the best part of college so far?

A:  The best part of college for me so far is the lectures.  I feel like I’m growing every minute I am in a classroom.  I’m being tested constantly and I love every minute of it.  It’s making me stronger as a person.  I understand myself, my capabilities, my strengths, and my weaknesses.  It’s like they are molding me into the woman that I aspire to be.

Q:  What is your major?

A:  My major is Human Services/ Pre-Med.  Recently I applied for the pre-med health careers program at Spelman, and I was shocked when I was accepted into the program.  I am so happy because, although I have other aspirations in life that I hope to accomplish that are far from the goal of being a doctor, I have always wanted to be a doctor.  Since I was a little girl that has been a dream of mine that I thought couldn’t happen.  However, Spelman is opening doors for me that I couldn’t see at one point in my life.

 

Q:  Have you joined any clubs?

A:  I have joined some clubs already!  I’m in the Health Careers club, the AWRT club (American Women in Radio and Television) and I’m an on call SSGA (Social Student Government Association) member for the junior class.

 

Although we are extremely proud of her bold move to another state and obvious passion for her studies, we look forward to her return at Christmas!

Alumni Scholarship

While we work closely with our residents to plan for continuing education – including a stringent savings plan and applying to financial aid and scholarships – students still come up short for their educational expenses. With a lead gift from the College Access Foundation, the YWCA has established the Transitional Housing and Education Program Alumni Scholarship Fund. YWCA staff reaches out to participants each month to offer emotional support if needed, resources and a scholarship allotment. In turn, participants must maintain a “C” average and/or meet equivalent passing criteria.

To contribute to our scholarship fund please click HERE. If you are an alumna of the Transitional Housing and Education Program and would like more information about our scholarship program, please contact Maria Abenes at (310) 452-3881 or mabenes@smywca.org.

For more information about our Transitional Housing and Education Program, please contact Maria Abenes, Director of Housing and Education, at (310) 452-3881 or mabenes@smywca.org.