Check out our archive of recent Enews articles about ILYA! for ILYA news prior to December 2020, please click here.

ILYA Holiday Giving Thank You!

The ILYA Holiday Gift Project team would like to extend a huge and sincere thank you to everyone who donated, volunteered your time, assembled and wrapped gifts and helped with writing holiday greeting cards.With the help of so many, our gift package was finally bundled in the parish hall on December 9, first in a ......

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Holiday Giving Project is ‘Wrapping Up’

Thanks, everyone, for giving ILYA a hand!! Sundays have been active at the ILYA table with lots of folks pitching in and wrapping gifts of tool sets, speaker phones, and LED lights (and more!) and writing holiday messages to each of the 102 young adults on ILYA’s gift list this year. The energy and engagement ......

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Holiday Giving Time is here…

Let’s Make This Year Extra Special! It’s that time of year when ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) asks for your help in making the holiday season special for young adults (ages 18-23) who have ‘aged-out’ of foster care, and who often have no one or no way to make their holidays brighter. They may ......

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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 ......

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ILYA Thanks You for the Halloween Fun!!

Costumes always make for a better show — or party! Halloween means tricks and treats, candy, pumpkins and parties for young people across America. This year, youth who are or have been in foster care will head to their special Halloween celebration decked out in fun and fancy, thanks to the members and friends of ......

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CALL FOR ADULT HALLOWEEN COSTUMES

A Fun Halloween Assignment for one and all! Do you have a Halloween costume your teens have outgrown? Or one you yourself wore a few years ago but just can’t imagine using again? Maybe even some costume jewelry or fancy hats and scarves that have been tucked in a forgotten corner of your drawer? In fact, ......

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Mayda Berrios has a Message…

“After Foster Care, the (Challenges) POSSIBILITIES are Endless!” “Team Up — Dream Up!” That was the title of Mayda Berrios’ workshop at the 35th Annual National Independent Living Conference in Denver, Colorado last month. “Every young person leaving foster care needs a ‘village’, a community of supportive people.” It’s a message Mayda passionately shares — ......

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More ILYA Students Starting School this Year… … and ILYA needs more volunteers to help them get started.

DO YOU HAVE SOME EXTRA TIME? Good news! Our ILYA Student Care Package Project (SCPP) is looking for more volunteers this year! That’s doubly good news, in fact! More kids aging-out of foster care are inspired to take their next steps to the future by furthering their education. That’s encouraging news, indeed! And right along with ......

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ILYA Volunteer Opportunities!

Are you looking for a way to make a significant difference in someone’s life? Come to the ILYA table in Parish Hall after the service on August 20 and learn about ILYA’s Student Care Package Project! Volunteers send 4 packages during the academic year to a student they are paired with and one package for ......

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Teenagers in Foster Care

How and Why… Those unfamiliar with ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) since its beginning may ask why we focus on youth ‘aging out’ of foster care. Here are some basic foster care facts to help answer that question. In a subsequent issue, we’ll talk about the special issues faced by young adults as they ......

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It’s A Win/Win/Win: Donation Collection June 24

How many things in life can you say are win/wins. Few. This month, our messages in the Enews have been explaining the New Apartment Kits for the foster youth aging out of the system. Now we’d like to fill in a few details. The original idea for the NAKS came from the kids themselves. When ......

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AS THE WORLD TURNS

As the world turns. Or to be more accurate, as the world makes its way elliptically around the sun, we come to another season. This one, in ILYA parlance, is called NEW APARTMENT. When I joined the church in 2018, ILYA was the program that attracted me the most. It is planted in my heart, ......

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Lions and Tigers and Rent, OH MY!

Can you remember being 18 and fresh from high school graduation? Possibilities were endless and maybe a little scary. You were going off to college, or maybe a full time job, but wherever you were headed, for the immediate future, you had the family roof over your head and a place at the table. Now, ......

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A Special Guest for ILYA’s Special Sunday

The second Sunday of May seems long ago, now that we’ve all returned from our Memorial Day holiday. But that special Mothers Day Sunday, the second of the month, was also the day when all donations not otherwise designated go toward that month’s charity. In May, the recipient was ILYA, Independent Living for Young Adults. ......

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Congratulations to an All-Star Graduate

She is an exceptional individual,” says Debbie Griffin of the student she has supported for the last three years through the ILYA Student Care Package Program. “It has been my privilege to get to know her.” This outstanding young woman will receive her Bachelor of Arts degree on May 11 from Widener University, where she ......

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Cheers for our SCPP Students and Their Mentors!

As the academic year draws to a close, we celebrate the youth who have been supported by Student Care Package Project (SCPP) volunteers. SCPP was one of ILYA’s earliest outreach programs, and for 16 years has remained one of its most popular with volunteers and students alike. Young adults pursuing higher education or serving in ......

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Happy First Anniversary, Hand To Hand!

On April 2, 2022, June Peterson and Bob Ulrich came knocking on our door, eager to make the first purchase from our new Hand To Hand project. And so began the story of woodcraft meeting helping hands and big hearts in support of Delaware foster youth. The story has been growing ever since. It is ......

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ILYA ENGAGES OTHER UU CONGREGATIONS

ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) is a social action program that helps the Delaware Division of Family Services support young adults aging out of foster care. ILYA offers nine projects that provide assistance and encouragement in ways that State funding and personnel are unable to do. A program first initiated at First U in ......

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Thank You, Student Care Package Project Volunteers!

Over these last few weeks, ILYA’s very special Student Care Package Project volunteers brightened the dreary end-of-winter days for 19 hard-working students with timely gift packages. Packed with treats for long nights of studying and practical items and gift cards to help with everyday living, these small gifts say “I care.” For these students, making ......

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HOT CHOCOLATE BAR FUNDRAISER for ILYA

 The Questers (4th – 7th graders) are hosting a Chocolate Bar to raise money for ILYA. ...

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Letter of Appreciation to ILYA and the First U Congregation from DFS

Once again, a heartfelt thank you to the numerous members and partners who contributed to the success of ILYA’s Holiday Giving Project this year. We received a beautiful letter of appreciation from the Director of the Delaware Division of Family Services (DFS) and the Transitional and Independent Living Program Manager that we wanted to share. ......

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ILYA Holiday Giving Project a Big Success

A heartfelt THANK YOU to the numerous members and partners who contributed to the success of ILYA’s Holiday Giving Project this year. So many of you rose to the challenge of supporting 102 young adults aging out of foster care and 27 of their children in both New Castle and Kent Counties. Many thanks to ......

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It’s the Last Sunday to Participate in ILYA Holiday Giving!

Many thanks to all those who brought greeting cards, calendars and gifts to the ILYA table last week or have sent their donations in. We will have our ILYA table set up one final time this Sunday, November 27. Look for the sparkling Christmas tree! If you have questions about ordering lunch bag gifts on ......

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ILYA Holiday Giving – Still Time to Participate!

Many kudos to the children who participated in the ILYA skit on Sunday and thanks to Catherine who pulled it all together. The skit was heartwarming, with great antlers and costumes too! Thanks also to all who brought greeting cards and calendars to the ILYA table last week. We now have enough cards but still ......

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ILYA’s Holiday Giving Project is Underway – Come See Us at Our Table!

With the holidays almost here, ILYA’s annual Holiday Giving initiative is off and running. This important project supports young adults up to age 23 who have aged out of the State’s foster care system with tangible, thoughtful items, as many do not have the social supports or financial resources from a family like their peers ......

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It’s Almost Time for ILYA’s Holiday Giving Project!

The holidays are fast approaching, which means ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) is gearing up to launch its annual Holiday Giving initiative very soon. This important project supports young adults up to age 23 who have aged out of the State’s foster care system with tangible, thoughtful items when they do not have the ......

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A New Look for Coffee Hour

You may have noticed something new in the Parish Hall or in the tent when ILYA has a table set up. Thanks to Marge Stitz’s beautiful appliqué work, ILYA has a lovely tablecloth and banner displaying our logo and tag line, “Growing Futures”. Many thanks as well to Lois Morris for orchestrating the idea for ......

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ILYA STUDENT CARE PACKAGE PROJECT

Learn more about the ILYA Student Care Package Project on Sunday August 21 Do you remember when you were in college or in the military, how great it was to receive a surprise package of goodies from home? The Independent Living for Young Adults (ILYA) Student Care Package Project is exactly about that – sending ......

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ILYA Hand to Hand

A new initiative, Hand To Hand, has been created by Tom and Sue Hodges in support of foster youth of Delaware. Tom, a retired biochemist and Sue, a retired play therapist and First U member, while having divergent careers, share a passion for lifting up the underserved. First Unitarian Church of Wilmington’s volunteer organization ILYA, ......

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Thank You for Supporting ILYA’s “Drive Up and Drop Off” Event!

Many hands make it fun! Many thanks to all who donated items at ILYA’s Drive Up and Drop Off Event at the church on June 25th! We hope that you feel more connected to the New Apartments Kit project and to the young adults who will benefit from your generosity and kindness. The annual event ......

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ITEMS STILL NEEDED FOR ILYA’S NEW APARTMENT KITS “DRIVE UP & DROP OFF” EVENT SATURDAY, JUNE 25

Young adults in Delaware who age out of the foster care system and choose to enter the State’s Independent Living Program can receive assistance in the form of rent vouchers, now until the age of 23. They must find housing and either attend school or be employed in order to stay in the program. While ......

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NEW APARTMENT KITS “DRIVE UP & DROP OFF” EVENT FOR ILYA: JUNE 25th

Young adults in Delaware who age out of the foster care system and choose to enter the State’s Independent Living Program can receive assistance in the form of rent vouchers, now until the age of 23. They must find housing and either attend school or be employed in order to stay in the program. While ......

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House Bill 271 Expands Independent Living Services for Young Adults to Age 23

ILYA is excited to share that State legislation to expand transitional and independent living services to young adults aging out of the foster care system up to the age of 23 has passed! House Bill 271 was signed by Governor Carney on May 2nd and expands services beyond the age of 21. This means that ......

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ILYA Revitalizes the Furniture Project

A Pilot Partnership with the Cokesbury Retirement Community For the past two years, after the Catholic Charities Thrift Center closed due to COVID, ILYA has only been able to make available to our young adults, who have aged out of foster care, furniture that was offered from time to time by church members. ILYA’s relationship ......

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Don’t Miss Conversations with ILYA Youth this Sunday!

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 ......

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ILYA’s LOAN PROGRAM PROVIDES SUPPORT FOR YOUTH IN EMERGENCIES

Second Sunday is right around the corner on Valentine’s Day weekend, February 13th. It’s the perfect time to celebrate ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) at First U! 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, ......

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ILYA Holiday Giving Project a Big Success Thanks to You

In case you missed the last article about the results of the Holiday Giving Project, here is a recap. We’d like to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to the numerous members and partners who contributed to the success of ILYA’s Holiday Giving Project in December. So many of you rose to the challenge of supporting ......

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ILYA Holiday Giving Project a Big Success

A heartfelt THANK YOU to the numerous members and partners who contributed to the success of ILYA’s Holiday Giving Project this year. So many of you rose to the challenge of supporting a record number of 112 young adults aging out of foster care and 16 of their children in New Castle and Kent Counties. ......

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There’s Still Time to Support ILYA’s Holiday Giving Project

A big THANK YOU to those who have volunteered to support Independent Living for Young Adults (ILYA)’s Holiday Giving Project. We are so appreciative. With an unexpected increase in the number of young adults and children in New Castle County and with the expansion to Kent County, we are supporting 112 adults and 16 children ......

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All Hands on Deck for ILYA’s Holiday Giving Project!

In the Giving Spirit this Holiday? Two ILYA Projects Are Waiting for You! THANK YOU to those members who have already volunteered to support ILYA’s Holiday Giving Project. With an unexpected increase in the number of young adults and children we are supporting in New Castle County plus the expansion to Kent County through church ......

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All Hands on Deck for ILYA’s Holiday Giving Project!

The holiday time is upon us and Independent Living for Young Adults (ILYA) is ready to kick off our annual Holiday Giving Project. This important project supports young adults who have aged out of the State’s foster care system with gift boxes and meaningful items so they feel supported and cared for during the holidays. ......

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It’s Almost Time for ILYA’s Holiday Giving Project!

The holidays are fast approaching, which means Independent Living for Young Adults (ILYA) is gearing up to launch our annual Holiday Giving Project very soon. This important project supports young adults who have aged out of the State’s foster care system with tangible, thoughtful items when they do not have the social and emotional supports ......

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ILYA Helps Celebrate Passing of Bill to Support Foster Care Youth in College

On October 21st, at the Freedom Plaza outside the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington, Governor Carney signed into law H.B. 123, which will provide a waiver of tuition, room and board and food for youth who have been in Delaware’s foster care system at the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, and Del Tech. ......

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Reminder: Upcoming ILYA Student Care Package Volunteer Orientations

Just a reminder for those volunteers who have signed up to participate in this year’s ILYA Student Care Package Project. There are two options for the required Volunteer Orientation Zoom Sessions: Sunday, October 17th from 1:00-2:30 pm. Wednesday, October 20th from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Please contact ILYA Student Care Package Project Leader, Pauline Koch, with the ......

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TEENAGERS IN FOSTER CARE

When foster care is mentioned, what often comes to mind for many is an image of an innocent baby or toddler, or a sad-looking school-age child. Yet fewer people are aware that teens account for a significant number of those who enter foster care every year. On average, approximately 40% of children and youth in ......

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Reminder: There’s Still Time to Support ILYA College Students with Care Packages This School Year

Thank you to those who attended the recent Zoom Info Sessions to learn more about how ILYA’s (Independent Living for Young Adults) Student Care Package project supports young adults while they are pursuing their college/secondary education career. Even if you did not attend the info sessions, there’s still time to get involved in this very ......

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The New School Year is Here! Support ILYA College Students with Care Packages

Thank you to those who attended the recent Zoom Information Sessions to learn more about how ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) Student Care Package project supports young adults while they are pursuing their college/secondary education career. Even if you did not attend the info sessions, you can still get involved in this very important ......

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New Church Partnerships Expand Support for ILYA

We are excited about the recent development of a new partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Society of Mill Creek! Their congregation has recently chosen to include ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) as one of their social justice projects that they support during the year. The conversation first started between First U member Kathie Stamm ......

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New ILYA Mission and Vision Statements!

We are excited to share that the ILYA program has new Mission and Vision statements! A small working group was busy over the summer tweaking and refining the words that best capture ILYA’s purpose and goals. The focus of our work remains the same, but now we have official statements for the program for marketing ......

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Reminder: Info Sessions on the ILYA Student Care Package Project Coming Up!

Just a reminder to those interested in learning about the ILYA Student Care Package project. If you have been tempted to volunteer for this project, but were not really sure what it entailed, two Zoom meetings are scheduled in the coming week so you can find out more. These are just information sessions; no commitment ......

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ILYA Graduation Party Celebrates Classes of 2020 and 2021

A festive evening on the Wilmington Riverfront on July 22nd was a long-awaited, in-person celebration to honor ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) graduates from 2020 and 2021. The Docklands Restaurant on the Riverfront provided a beautiful outdoor setting for the over 30 attendees who came together to celebrate and acknowledge the accomplishments of several ......

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JUST WHAT IS THE ILYA STUDENT CARE PACKAGE PROJECT ALL ABOUT?

Do you remember when you were away at college or in the military and how nice it was to receive a surprise package of goodies from home? Sending such packages to young adults who have aged out of foster care and are continuing their education in post-secondary programs or the military is exactly what the ......

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ILYA Student Care Packages Offer Care and Connections for College Students

Some of you may remember what it was like to receive that special care package from home when you were away at college. A box of goodies filled with some of your favorite comfort things – just the boost you needed to help you make it through the next exam or the end of the ......

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Family Furniture Donation Makes New Apartments Feel Like Home for ILYA Youth

Last December, after First U member Peggy Rawheiser passed away, her daughter, Debbie Rawheiser Robertson, started talking with her brothers about how fond their mother had been about the church’s ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) program and its mission of supporting youth aging out of the foster care system. Together, they decided it would ......

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SAVE THE DATE! NEW APARTMENT ITEMS DRIVE UP & DROP OFF EVENT FOR ILYA YOUTH – JUNE 26

Youth in Delaware who age out of the foster care system and choose to enter the State’s Independent Living Program until they are 21 can receive assistance in the form of rent vouchers. They must find housing and either attend school or be employed in order to stay in the program. While they learn to ......

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Supportive Adults Vital to Youth Aging out of Foster Care

The ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) team would like to share a link to a wonderful ABC News story about a 19-year-old in Florida who aged out of the foster care system and was adopted by her former caseworker. Click here to view the video. As the article notes, for teens who are aging ......

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Sweet Gifts to ILYA Youth from The Bee Whisperer

Many of you may know Doyle Dobbins, a member of First U since the 1970’s and a long-time member of the UU Service Committee (UUSC), through which he is dedicated to promoting First U principles and values. His hobby as a bee keeper and honey farmer for over 30 years encompasses similar ideals – respect, ......

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CAN YOUR GROUP HELP PROVIDE LAPTOPS FOR ILYA GRADUATES?

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 ......

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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 ......

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ILYA Reaches 16th Year of Supporting Youth in Foster Care

Did you know that ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) has been serving youth and young adults aging out of the foster care system in New Castle County since 2005? This social justice effort was started by members of First U who recognized there was a clear need in the community to support these youth ......

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ILYA Launches New Brochure

We are excited to share that Independent Living for Young Adults (ILYA) now has an official new program brochure! It provides a history, an overview of ILYA projects, testimonials and ways volunteers and donors can support the youth in the program. Refreshing the old brochure is another step in our concentrated communications plan. We believe ......

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HIP HIP HOORAY FOR OUR ILYA STUDENT CARE PACKAGE VOLUNTEERS!!

During this past school year, thirteen volunteers have been participating in the ILYA Student Care Package project led by Deb Griffin and assisted by Pauline Koch. Throughout the school year, these volunteers have sent “care” packages with items such as snacks and other goodies, school supplies, dorm decorations, household supplies, gift cards and more! They ......

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How are Youth Referred for Our ILYA Services?

When a youth in foster care turns 16 years of age, an Independent Living (IL) coordinator is assigned to assist the youth to prepare for the transition to adulthood. The IL workers are contracted by the State’s Division of Family Services (DFS) from three non-profit agencies in New Castle County: People’s Place II, Progressive Life ......

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Surprising Gift to ILYA

How touching it was to open the mail for the Independent Living for Young Adults (ILYA) program last week and find a check made out to the church designated for ILYA. The gift was from a former beneficiary of our Student Care Package project, Nicole Magnusson! Nicole made the donation in memory of Melinda Byers, ......

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Thank You from the ILYA Team

Thank you to everyone who attended Special Offering Sunday on February 14th! We hope, after learning more about ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) and hearing directly from one of the youth we support, that you feel more connected to this wonderful social justice program at First U. Many, many thanks to those members who ......

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Share Your Love for ILYA this Sunday

Did you know that the support of the ILYA Program from you, the First U congregation, has assisted young adults as they transition out of foster care and into independent living for the past 16 years? If you want to learn more about the impact of your gifts, then this Sunday, February 14, is for ......

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ILYA Special Offering: February 14th!

Our February Special Offering is right around the corner on Valentine’s Day, February 14th! It’s the perfect day to celebrate ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) at First U during our “BeLOVEd Community” theme month. Get a sneak peak into the program! Learn more about the impact ILYA is making on young adults aging out ......

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SAVE THE DATE FOR SHARE THE PLATE! SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14th

Our Second Sunday Special Offering is an opportunity to celebrate ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) at First U. While Share the Plate will look and feel different this year, you still won’t want to miss the chance to learn about the ways your support benefits young adults who are transitioning from foster care to ......

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HOLIDAY GIVING PROJECT UPDATE

The ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) Holiday Giving Project was a great success thanks to your generosity! Over 120 donors participated, including non-members, and we collected slightly more than $7,500. Thank you to all who donated, shopped, wrapped and worked behind the scenes to make the holidays so special for youth who otherwise would ......

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TEENAGERS IN FOSTER CARE

When foster care is mentioned, what comes to mind is an image of an innocent baby or toddler, or maybe even a sad-looking school-age child. Fewer folks, however, are aware that teenagers enter foster care. Yet, approximately 40% of children and youth in foster care on average in Delaware are ages 13-18. This percentage is ......

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