The Power of Partnerships for Independent Living for Young Adults (ILYA)

ILYA’s partnerships with other organizations are some of our strongest programs. One such partnership is with the New Century Club of Newark. We got in touch with this organization to seek a grant for a young woman who spent her teen years in foster care after suffering serious abuse as a child. She was excused […]


INDEPENDENT LIVING FOR YOUNG ADULTS (ILYA), a social justice project of First Unitarian Church, provides support for young people as they “age out” of the foster care system. ILYA works with social service agencies, helping to fill the gaps in supportive services that these young people need, and volunteers are always welcome to join our team.

The mission of ILYA is to live our UU values by providing support to young adults aging out of foster care in a way that…

  • offers them caring in a non-threatening environment;
  • ensures that we listen to and act on the needs of the young adults;
  • encourages broad participation by the congregation;
  • enriches relationships for both the young adults and the congregation;
  • demonstrates our church as positively impacting the community; and
  • increases our understanding of the issues of people who are disadvantaged,

… so that the young adults learn to live satisfying, independent lives in a connected, networked community.

The ILYA program includes many projects that serve this deserving population. For example we…

  • celebrate graduations with an annual party and graduation gift;
  • send care packages to college students throughout the year as signs of encouragement and support;
  • provide holiday gifts that often fill very basic needs;
  • provide tutoring for high school and college courses and assistance with application forms and entrance exam practice;
  • give supportive grants for needs such as apartment/utility security deposits, college admission and book fees, and emergency needs;
  • facilitate donations of furniture and household items for first apartments; provide New Apartment Kits for new renters;
  • give baby showers to create a positive, supportive atmosphere when a baby is expected;
  • provide Foster Care System advocacy to bring issues forward and to lobby for action;

You can become part of these rewarding activities by joining the ILYA team to help these young people succeed in building responsible, independent futures. We invite you to join us and the young people we serve will be so thankful!

  • To volunteer to send periodic care packages, please click here.
  • To donate furniture and household items, please click here.
  • For general information, please click here.