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. You can read meeting minutes, here.
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…
- GRADUATIONS – celebrate graduations with an annual party and graduation gift
- STUDENT CARE PACKAGES – send care packages to college students throughout the year as signs of encouragement and support; learn the history of this program, here
- HOLIDAY GIVING – provide holiday gifts that often fill very basic needs; learn the history of this program, here
- SUPPORT GRANTS – give supportive grants for needs such as apartment/utility security deposits, college admission and book fees, and emergency needs
- NEW APARTMENTS – facilitate donations of furniture and household items for first apartments; provide New Apartment Kits for new renters
- BABY SHOWERS – Unfortunately, due to changes in employment, we no longer have an organizer to plan baby showers . However we do continue to gather donations to fill in the gaps in what the new mom is able to prepare for her expected baby. We are continuing to search for a shower organizer.
- ADVOCACY – provide Foster Care System advocacy to bring issues forward and to lobby for action
- TUTORING – provide tutoring for high school and college courses and assistance with application forms and entrance exam practice
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!