Second Sunday is here! It’s the perfect time to celebrate and reflect on how ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) at First U is making a difference by hearing directly from some of our youth, interviewed by Rev. Larry. For 17 years, ILYA has assisted young adults as they navigate their new life after foster care. Year-round projects such as New Apartment Kits, Student Care Packages, Graduation Gifts and Loan Program help to set these young people up for success.
Another important ILYA program that you may not be aware of is the Baby Supplies Project that provides young moms with essential items for their newborns such as cribs, strollers, car seats and clothes. While in-person baby showers are not being held during the pandemic, the program still continues to offer support. First U member Crystal Oswald manages the project and explains that the items and supplies being provided to new moms is essentially what they would receive at a baby shower. She says “We take into account their living situations, the season, and the size of their apartment or home and try to accommodate their needs accordingly.”
ILYA is contacted by the State’s Independent Living Coordinators when there is an expecting or new mom in need and Crystal gets to work. She reaches out to the First U community and to her contacts at the North Wilmington Mom’s Group for donated items and/or financial resources. This past fall, for example, ILYA was able to support four young moms at West End Neighborhood House because of these generous individuals. All four mothers were provided with swings, high chairs, new car seats, baby clothes, pac n’ plays and blankets.
As ILYA has expanded to support youth in Kent County, our partner congregation at UUCD in Dover has come together to assist a new mother in that area. One UUCD member is also knitting a blanket and hat for the newborn. For our First U members who knit or sew, hand-made items like this are always needed and appreciated.
For Crystal, the Baby Supplies project is a family affair. Her three young daughters are involved and her mom often crochets blankets and hats. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a new mother and not have any family support. This project lets these moms know that they are cared about and they are not alone. We want to give them and their babies a successful start.”
This Sunday, we are thrilled to share video clips of some insightful and impactful conversations between Rev. Larry and three of our youth. You will hear first-hand the challenges these young adults faced and overcame as they aged out of foster care. We’re sure that after hearing directly from some of the youth, you will feel more connected to this wonderful social justice program at First U.
Be prepared to be inspired! Don’t miss this Sunday’s service!