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ILYA’s annual Graduation Celebration is coming up in another month or two to honor those young adults in New Castle County who have been in foster care as teens and who are graduating this spring, a big achievement for these youth. Some of the ILYA funds which church members and friends have so generously donated this year are used to provide a pizza party and backpacks filled with useful personal items for each graduate.

Though graduations are an exciting time, they can also cause anxiety for many graduates not only because they are facing new unfamiliar adventures, but also for our graduates because they lack the resources and family support they see that their peers have.

As we mentioned in last week’s eNews article, last year, one of our ILYA team members, Jessica Farris, engaged her co-workers to contribute funds as part of a company-encouraged philanthropic endeavor so that a laptop, so necessary these days for any academic work, could be purchased for each graduate. Since Jessica’s corporation does not permit contributions directly to religious organizations, she formed a GoFundMe project in conjunction with the three non-profit organizations that provide the Independent Living social workers with whom ILYA co-partners. They were able to raise from Jessica’s co-workers around the country sufficient funds to provide a laptop for each of the graduates.

Because of the generosity of church members in the past, we are not soliciting you again for this important but expensive project. Nevertheless, we have heard over and over from the social workers and some youth directly about how significant the laptops have been and how excited the graduates were to get them. Therefore, as an alternative way to fund the project, we are encouraging members (or non-members) who might have a relationship with co- workers or other groups such as book clubs, men’s groups, alumni groups, neighborhood group, etc., who might be looking for a good cause to support, to do what Jessica did and see if those groups would consider raising funds for the laptops project as their cause.

If your group is not comfortable giving directly to the church because it is a religious organization, contact Jessica at 603-948-7602 or to find out how she set up the GoFundMe account and promoted the laptops and the issue of youth aging out of foster care within her company.

Please also notify Jessica or Barbara Crowell at if your group is interested in participating in raising funds for the project. We would really like to offer the laptops again this year, but your help is needed to do that.
Thanks so much.