Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation Receives Substantial Grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation.

The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation awards Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation (AFFCF) a multi-year, $150,000 grant to support its Keys to Success program. Each year, approximately 900 youth leave the Arizona foster care system at age 18 and research indicates that a high percentage of them are likely to experience poor outcomes such as homelessness, unemployment, unplanned pregnancy, low educational attainment, legal system involvement and substance abuse.

AFFCF’s Keys to Success program provides youth – ages 16 to 24 years old who are or have been in foster care – with individualized career planning, education and employment development services. The grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation will support the AFFCF mission to create equal opportunities for children in foster care and lead them on a path to becoming productive, self-sustaining members of the community.

“Because of the instability in their lives, many youth in foster care have a limited or a misinformed understanding of employment opportunities, and even fewer have been encouraged to develop a plan for their future,” said Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation executive director Kris Jacober. “Thanks to the support of people like Bob and Renee Parsons, we are able to provide programs that help young men and women who are aging out of foster care learn how to navigate the world as independent adults.”

The Keys to Success program starts with an in-depth career exploration and goal setting process facilitated by a qualified, professional Career Development Specialist (CDS). The CDS administers assessment tools which help youth identify skills, interests, personality traits and work values and select job opportunities that best align with their profiles. AFFCF provides support every step of the way – from assistance with resume writing to providing a $200 stipend for youth to purchase interview and/or work appropriate clothing. Additional support provided by AFFCF can include things like driver’s education classes, acquisition of vital records, transportation costs (bicycle and/or bus passes), first aid classes and food handlers cards, computers, scholarships, tutoring, apartment set up when they are ready to live independently and additional services as needed. Eligible youth are recruited directly from where they live in foster families, group homes or other facilities. Through Keys to Success, AFFCF collaborates with a variety of partners including potential employers, housing services and educational organizations. For additional information or to join  the mission, please visit the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation website at www.affcf.org.