Imagine having "aged out" of foster care without the social capital or personal connections to help you navigate how to be an adult. Didn't we all need someone we could ask for advice on buying our first car, or figuring out how to file our first tax return?
DCFYI is about to launch a program that’s proven to be a success in locations across the country. The program, Open Table, uses six to eight volunteer Table Members who help support one young adult to achieve their goals. The youth decides what their goals are and Table Members help that person achieve those goals. The real distinction with this program is that the youth is in charge; Table Members are there to advise them how to achieve the goals that are important to them. Table Members commit to seven weeks of online training, then one-hour meetings with the youth once a week for year. In addition, volunteers will sometimes spend an additional two or three hours during the week with the youth to walk with them as they go for their first drivers license; or to look at a potential apartment, or even learn how to do their grocery shopping---whatever the youth has identified as a goal.
DCFYI is looking for volunteer Table Members who are ready to commit to the training and one year participation to help one of our older youth.
- Relationship: Open Table is about members of a community being in direct relationship with a young adult who has “aged out” of foster care without strong support systems.
- A Shared Purpose: Through a shared purpose, members of a community have accountability and responsibility for the relationship with the Youth. Through the expression and deepening of their individual perspectives, Table members and their Youth affirm and deepen their own sense of wholeness, and of their connected humanity and shared purpose on the Table.
- A Safe Place: Family & Youth Initiative creates Tables to support youth who have aged out of foster care and help them achieve the goals they set for themselves. The safe place is free from blame and shame, moves at the pace of the youth, and is based on the youth’s own definition of success, culture, and support.
- Transformation and Reconciliation: Transformation occurs through being in direct, face-to-face, and long-term relationship with Youth.
- Local Determination and Ownership: The Open Table model provides a foundational, consistent, tested, and proven process to support Youth who would not otherwise have the connections and support needed to achieve their goals.
- You will be part of a Table of six to eight members serving one Youth.
- Preparation includes seven weeks of interactive training for group formation and relationship building as a team.
Tables commit to one-hour weekly meetings for a year, plus a potential two to three hours of additional support and relationship building opportunities with the Youth during the week. After the year of the Table, the Youth can maintain relationship with Table members according to their preferences.
This funding supports providing Table members with a proven model through research and evaluation, a Theory of Change, over 15 hours of online training accompanied by an e-Textbook, fidelity measurement tools, and ongoing coaching and support. Scholarships are available for volunteers who are unable to provide the full $120 fee.