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Join ILYA in Making a Difference!

It’s that time of year when Jack o’ lanterns surrender shelf space to Santa Claus in stores — and even in First U’s Parish Hall! A final thank you to all who contributed to a great Halloween party for kids who are or have been in foster care. Your costume finery added both creativity and fun! And now, ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) asks for your support in making the Christmas Holidays a warm and memorable time for these young people experiencing the holidays on their own and for whom our package may be the only gift they receive. Watch this space over the next few weeks to learn more — including how you can help.

Through your generous donations last year, ILYA provided 106 young adults and their 29 children gift packages for the holidays. Holiday Giving is a major component of ILYA’s array of social justice projects which provide supportive services for young adults, ages 18-23 who have aged out of the DE foster care system and have little or no social and financial support.

For those who may be new to the First U community, a quick reprise of ILYA’s story may be useful. ILYA — Independent Living for Young Adults — was founded at First UU in 2003 to supplement services provided by the Delaware Division of Family Services for young adults who have been in foster care. Because DFS has both financial and personnel limitations, ILYA —over its 18-year history — has developed an array of programs to provide support to young people as they age-out of foster care and begin life “on their own.” Independent Living for Young Adults has now become a integral part of the ministries of sister UU churches in New Castle and Kent counties, and has attracted enthusiasm from community members not affiliated with a Unitarian Church but drawn to our mission: “to provide every youth aging out of foster care in Delaware, access to resources and services to achieve a fulfilling, successful adulthood and feel connected to a caring community.”

For more information, please contact the ILYA Holiday Giving Coordinators:

Caryl Carlson- 302-234-3237 or and

Francine du Pont-302-540-6500 or