Posted by Beth McCrindle
Nationally only 54% of foster youth will graduate from high school when they exit care at age 18. Only 3% will graduate from college. Although Iowa statistics may be better, most youth aging out of care lack a natural support system that will assist them in celebrating achievements or help to gather needed items as they transition from foster care to their first apartment or college dorm.
This year our club generously contributed to that urgent need. In the past a community wide open house has been held at Hawkeye Community College to celebrate these youth. Obviously this year that event was impossible. In its place a “drive-by“ open house was held. All nine of the kids received a microwave, set of pots and pans, pillow and case, laundry basket, plastic mixing bowl set, can opener, 48 piece silverware and tray, surge protector, flashlight, kitchen towel, cloths and oven mitt, measuring cups and measuring spoons, and first aid kit. Individual community members contributed cards and gift cards. Since the ever popular graduation sheet cake wouldn’t be served at an open house, each student received a small cake with his/her name! They were richly blessed and were very appreciative. Reports are that one family was so excited that they locked themselves out of the house. Ha!
All youth leaving foster care receive a suitcase filled with personal care items, even those not graduating.
Waterloo Rotary’s gift of $100 gift cards to Target were gratefully received. One comment was that leaving the security of the system seemed less scary knowing that they had community support!