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Tax Time and Graduations are Here: Two Ways To Support ILYA Youth

With tax time and graduation season upon us, it is a particularly important – and often anxious – time for many of the youth in our Independent Living for Young Adults (ILYA) program. It is also an opportunity for First U members to help meet very specific needs of these young adults who lack the resources and family support systems that exist for most of their peers.
Please consider how you can step in and step up to make a difference right now through these two opportunities to:
New Laptops for Graduating Seniors – You may recall hearing how ILYA team member Jessica Farris worked with her colleagues at AMWINS, a specialty insurance provider, to raise funds to purchase 25 new laptops for ILYA’s graduating seniors last year. As a member of her employer’s Social Committee, Jessica and her colleagues used this platform to rally employees at various sites nationwide to raise $6,776 using the fundraising page GoFundMe. The committee sent a series of email blasts over the two to three week campaign and used a variety of content to educate employees about youth aging out of foster care, emphasizing the significance of what graduation from high school and furthering their education means for long term success.
Some employees had been foster parents or knew someone who had been, so the initiative had a very personal connection for many and created an incentive to give. Each office site also matched its employees’ donations. Amazingly, all support came from employees outside of Delaware!
Jessica worked with Best Buy to purchase the laptops and mice and also with the retailer Jansport to buy new bookbags at cost. KUDOS AND MANY THANKS to Jessica and her colleagues at AMWINS for their hard work, creativity and contributions! Not only did the new laptops boost the spirits of our youth by giving them functional technology to do their school work, but they were higher quality devices than what their peers were using.
Is your company or employer looking for a specific philanthropic cause that can make an immediate impact? We’re looking for another team to raise funds for new laptops for our 2021 ILYA graduating seniors! Jessica is happy to share her experience and pointers for coordinating the laptop fundraising campaign at your workplace. Contact her at 603-948-7602 or Farrisj212@gmail.com to get started!
Tax Assistance – Calling on those with experience in finance or tax preparation services! We have a request from one of the Independent Living Coordinators at DFS to assist an ILYA youth with filing her taxes. Can you or someone you know volunteer to meet this need? Please contact Barbara Crowell as bjdcrowell@gmail.com or 302-235-1609 for more info.

THANK YOU in advance for sharing your time and talents to make a difference!