It was a great turnout on Thursday, June 16, when dozens of current and former foster youth joined KidsVoice's Expansion Team and the Department of Human Services’ Educational Liaisons at the annual Transition Age Youth Resource Fair. Designed especially for youth ages 16-24, these resource fairs connect attendees with organizations that can help them as they age out of the foster care system.
The first in-person fair since 2019, the energy at the vacation-themed event was lively. KidsVoice staff took youth around to the different booths, enjoying reunions with their clients and hearing updates about their lives. Many youth signed up for programs on the spot.
Youth in attendance were treated to free food and entered into drawings for prizes, including home goods from Pressley Ridge; feminine products from Planned Parenthood; personal hygiene products and books from My Best Self; an Amazon gift card from Tobacco Free Adagio Health; and gift cards for Uber, Lyft, Giant Eagle, and Amazon from KidsVoice.
The 21 organizations and resource groups in attendance covered a wide array of services:
- Beverly's Birthdays thinks everyone should be able to celebrate their milestones, throwing birthday parties, marking graduations, and hosting community baby showers for those who may not otherwise get to celebrate.
- CareerLink offers one-on-one career counseling, workshops, resume and interview preparation, and even transportation and clothing assistance, for absolutely no cost to the youth.
- The Employment Institute at Auberle and the Career Pipeline prepares youth for careers in an array of fields. Learn more about job training and programs here on our resources page.
- Foster Love Project's foster closet allows children of all ages in the foster care system to "shop" for brand-new clothing, shoes, books, toys, and bedroom supplies. Other programs are also aimed at foster youth and those who care for them.
- Goodwill offers a wide range of services that can help transition age youth in the areas of education, career planning, housing, and more.
- Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation seeks to improve the health of the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities in Western Pennsylvania through an array of programs for youth and adults.
- Just Harvest addresses hunger in Allegheny County by focusing on food access, community power, and public policy.
- My Best Self empowers foster youth by helping them look and feel great through self-care, self-esteem, and social-based programming. Watch an introductory video here.
- The Opportunity Passport is a financial literacy program that helps transition age youth gain financial freedom through financial wellness education and fund-matching. Watch a video here to learn more.
- Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation provides services to help persons with disabilities prepare for, obtain, or maintain employment.
- Planned Parenthood provides reproductive and sexual health care, including annual screenings and family planning.
- Pressley Ridge LifeSet is a program that empowers young people ages 17-22 to transition from foster care to successful adulthood in Allegheny County. Learn more by watching this video.
- SITY, aka Systems Improvement Through Youth, is an advisory board for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) comprised of youth transitioning from child-serving systems. Learn more here.
- Tobacco Free Adagio Health aims to change community norms around tobacco through education.
- Undercover Confidence offers professional fittings for undergarments, as well as free garments, including bras, briefs, and bindings, so transition age youth can feel comfortable and confident. Learn more.
- UpStreet Pittsburgh is a free teen mental health program for anyone ages 12-22, which provides access to therapy, peer support groups, and more.
- We Rock is an initiative that teams transition age youth with professionals in the music industry to create and inspire. Learn more.
- Youth Support Partners (YSP) are young adults who have lived through the care system and can stand by their assigned youth as they navigate life and the system. Learn more here.
You can learn more about many of these organizations, as well as other important resources for transition age youth, in our resource section.
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