To bridge the gap of homelessness to permanent housing in an environment where youths can overcome trauma and build life skills...
Saperia Dreams YOUth Matter Mentorship Program matches caring, professional adults with children, youth and young adults throughout Georgia. We have a very rigorous screening and training program for volunteers. Consistency is vital for these kids, so we require mentors to spend at least eight hours a month with their mentees, and a minimum of a one-year commitment.
This is so important because the mentor may be the only adult who has ever shown an interest in the child who was not paid to do so. These kids desperately need a sense of belonging. Our mentors have a terrific impact on their mentees. We want our mentors and mentees to develop strong relationships that make a lasting difference in our youth lives.
Young people who leave foster care—often at the age of 18 with little support and few skills—are at risk for a host of adverse outcomes, including homelessness. In Saperia Dreams Mentoring program, we offer long-term mentoring, life skills training, and matched financial savings for youth in foster care that prepare them to be self-sufficient in adulthood and avoid negative outcomes like homelessness.
The statistics are dire. More than 23,000 kids age out of U.S. foster care each year. Without the support from an adoptive family or permanency connection, these kids face tough odds. Many will end up with chemical dependencies, criminal records, or pregnancies at a young age. Few will graduate college.
There is also the problem of foster families not accessing the resources that kids need because of a lack of funding or a lack of desire. Kids taken out of violent homes not only face the struggle of missing their parents and living in a strange environment, but there may be PTSD and other mental health issues present as well. Foster kids will run away from homes because the tools aren’t in place to help them cope, and there isn’t enough patience within the foster family to allow for the natural grieving process to occur.
When parents, foster families, and the system at large fail these kids, and they age out of the system, is it any wonder why so many struggles to make their way in the world? That why partnering with organizations is very important to Saperia Dreams. We help support young adults as they transition to successful independence.
The program pays particular attention to the most disadvantaged foster children, for example, those who have lost contact with their families of origin or the child who is the only one left in the group home with nowhere to go on holidays. Our mission is to provide whole-person support to these vulnerable young people through a trio of integrated supportive services that prepare them to transition to adulthood: mentoring relationships, intensive case supports and financially incentivized life skills training.
Modern vocational education allows our youth to learn highly transferable creative and personal development skills and practical skills and activities specific to a chosen job role. Those who undertake vocational training or apprenticeships can expect to learn a lot about themselves and to discover talents they didn’t know they had!