Check here for the latest news and information about ILYA Activities.

ILYA & Stewardship

During the church stewardship campaign, we focus on how we take care of things that are important to us. One great example is the support First U gives ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults). It starts with the volunteers who give their time and talents to make sure the program is addressing the needs of ......

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You Did It Again!

Because of the generous support from the First U congregation and friends, it’s another successful Holiday Giving this year. The last minute shopping was done with the help of all the financial contributions you gave. And all the gifts you donated and those we purchased have been wrapped up and are ready for the Independent ......

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Only Two Weeks Left

Yikes! There are only 2 weeks left before ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) wraps up the Holiday Giving project for this year… AND WE STILL HAVE QUITE A FEW WISH LISTS NEEDING VOLUNTEERS! A number of people have given cash or checks so we know we’ll be shopping. But we don’t have enough to ......

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Only 3 Weeks Til Christmas!!

No, not the official holiday but until the deadline we have to meet to get all of our Holiday Giving wrapped and ready to be packed up and delivered to young people who have aged out of foster care. These young people are out on their own and won’t have much holiday without us. ILYA ......

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It’s Holiday Giving Time

In almost every store holiday decorations have appeared. Before long, every radio station will be playing holiday music. And at First U, ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) has kicked off our Holiday Giving project. For those not familiar with this, it’s our way of bringing some holiday cheer to youth who have aged out ......

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A Letter Received From an ILYA Youth

ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) received the following letter from one of the youth you have supported through your generous contributions of time and donations. We hope you feel as great about this as we do! To My ILYA Family, I am writing this letter to give my deepest thanks to all members of ......

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Thank you, Questers!!!!

A great big THANK YOU from ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) goes out to our 4th, 5th and 6th grade Questers for the fantastic Family Night they held last Friday evening! They made chili, had a caramel apple station and thought up lots of fun games which made for a very special evening. Rounding ......

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The ILYA Team Thanks You!

We are delighted to report that we have volunteer matches for all of the fifteen young adults who signed up to participate in the ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) Student Care Package project for this academic year! In fact, we had several MORE volunteers than students! This project matches students who have aged out ......

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What a Wonderful Problem to Have!

The First U community is so caring and generous that ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) developed a problem. We received more offers from volunteers to send Student Care Packages to youth who aged out of foster care and are continuing their education than we have students. How can we ever thank you enough for ......

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Sending a Package Could be Too Much

For some people who would like to support a student who has aged out of foster care by participating in the student care package project, it’s too much to physically prepare and mail a package. But did you know it can be as easy as putting a gift card in an envelope and mailing it ......

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Student Care Package Time

Yes, school is back in session and ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) is kicking off the Student Care Package project for the 2019/2020 academic year. This project offers support to youth who have aged out of foster care and are continuing their post-high school education. Many of these youth are the first generation in ......

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Look What You Did!

In checking the ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) mailbox this week, we found the note card below. Rasheen is a student at the University of Delaware who was helped with tuition by a grant from the New Century Club of Newark obtained by ILYA. While this wasn’t money donated by First U, it’s you ......

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ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) Went to YAC

A representative group from ILYA attended the YAC (Youth Advisory Council) conference at Delaware State University in Dover last week. This conference organized and run by youth who are in or have aged out of foster care has the tag line “Nothing about us without us”. They advise legislators, social service organizations and others about ......

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Congratulations to all!

It happened! The 2019 Graduation Pizza Party was held last week and as you can see in the pictures, below, a great time was had by all. High school grads, college grads, vocational school grads, foster care alumnae, Sophia Cywinksi, manager of the state’s Independent Living Program, Independent Living Coordinators (contracted by the state), and ......

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Partnering Extends the Support

Once again the partnering relationship ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) has established with other organizations has expanded our ability to serve youth who have aged out of foster care. For the third year in a row, we have received a grant from the New Century Club of Newark that specifically aids former foster youth ......

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We’re Almost There – With Your Help We’ll Make It

ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) is wrapping up the preparation of 25 backpacks filled with items youth aging out of foster care can take with them to a dorm or first apartment. Why? These are gifts that you provide to celebrate their graduating from high school. And celebrate we will! Next month we will ......

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Can You Help ILYA Celebrate Graduations?

ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) is working hard to prepare the backpacks we give as gifts to young people graduating from high school and aging out of foster care. They will be distributed at the pizza party we give to celebrate their amazing achievement. “Amazing achievement?” you may be thinking. What’s so amazing about ......

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Here Come the Graduates!

ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) is preparing the gift backpacks and arrangements for our Graduation Pizza Party. We have 25 grads this year who have aged out or are aging out of foster care (steadily increasing numbers every year!!). So we’re coming to you for help to make this another successful project. Each backpack ......

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A Lenten Gift of Love

Recently the ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) New Apartment Kit (NAK) team learned of a very touching and generous gift they were receiving. A friend of one of our volunteers is a Catholic woman of the old school who felt giving up candy and wine for Lent wasn’t really good enough. So, she purchased ......

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New Apartment Kits on Display 

With so many new members in our congregation who may not know about ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) here’s a little overview. For 13 years this social justice program has provided support to young people who age out of foster care in New Castle County. They have often experienced significant trauma (physical, emotional, sexual ......

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What An Amazing Young Woman!

At the service on February 10, Sammon, a young woman who had aged out of foster care at age 18 and to whom ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) has been giving support, told her story. She told us how she overcame significant trauma to start moving toward her goals. She is just 19 years ......

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Radical Hospitality on the Heels of Radical Generosity

First Unitarian Church of Wilmington is the birthplace of the Independent Living for Young Adults (ILYA) social justice program. Since its beginnings, members and friends of the church have been very generous supporters allowing early volunteers like Betty Wier, Barbara Crowell, Barbara Perry, J. Harry Feldman, Henrietta McKelvey and many others since to make significant ......

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Come Meet the ILYA Youth You Support

On Sunday, February 10th, some of the youth supported by ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) will be our guests participating in the service. One young woman will be sharing her experiences and Sophia Cywinski from the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families will also speak to us about what the ......

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Oh no! No More Baby Showers?!

About 2 years ago ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) started a project to offer support to young women who had aged out of foster care at age 18 and found themselves pregnant. We wanted them to feel valued and supported knowing that another life to manage significantly increased the challenges they faced. We started ......

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Holiday Cheer for All!

The 2018 ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) Holiday Giving project was a huge success thanks to the members and friends of First U! Together we fulfilled every list including one that asked for a welding machine. The requests ran the gamut from big equipment and a lap top computer, to personal care items and ......

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Getting Close to the Finish Line

With the help of many volunteers who have already taken wish lists or donated to the Holiday Giving Project, ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) is getting closer to the finish line. But we still need some help to make it a cheerful holiday for our young people who have aged out of foster care. ......

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Holiday Giving Gets a Great Start

What a great kick-off we had for the ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) Holiday Giving Project! Many wish lists submitted by the young people who have aged out of foster care were taken by generous volunteers. Shopping for the items these deserving youth wish for is so satisfying and gives them holiday cheer they ......

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Holiday Giving Kicks Off November 4!

ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) is starting our Holiday Giving project and we hope you’ll join us to make another great holiday for young people who have aged out of foster care. For those who aren’t familiar, wish lists are created by these young adults, and will be posted in the Parish Hall every ......

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Who is ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults)?

First and foremost, ILYA is YOU! You support the team through donations of time and money. ILYA started supporting young people aging out of foster care over 13 years ago and First UU has never faltered. But how it gets done is through the work of a team of dedicated volunteers. Cathy Butler kicked off ......

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A Big Thanks to the Questers!

ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) would like to thank the Questers Religious Exploration Group (our 4th, 5th & 6th graders) for the fantastic fun night they held last Friday. It was a fundraiser to benefit the young people aging out of foster care who ILYA services. The games were creative and fun and so ......

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Quester Fall Fun Night Fundraiser, Friday, October 12th

Please join us for a Questers’ Fundraiser on Friday, October 12th at 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Our 4th through 6th grade children are planning a fun night to raise money and supplies for ILYA, while enjoying fall games! All ages are welcome. There will be food for sale this night as well, so come hungry. ......

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The ILYA Team Thanks You!

We are delighted to report that we have volunteer matches for all of the twenty-one young adults who signed up to participate in the Independent Living for Young Adults (ILYA) Student Care Package for this academic year! The ILYA Student Care Package project matches students who have aged out of foster care and are pursuing ......

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Want to Help a Student?

ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) is once again lining up volunteers to help students that have aged out of foster care. These youth who are going on to post-secondary education now have decreased support as they are no longer with a foster family. ILYA volunteers give them the boost that can help them get ......

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ILYA Student Care Packages

With September upon us, the ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) team is thrilled to report that we have over twenty students hoping to be matched with caring volunteers willing to send treat packages periodically over the course of the academic year. Are you that caring person or family? If it is something you would ......

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ILYA is back to school too!

While many are just starting back to school, ILYA has kicked off our school related activity already. Mid-summer Sue Wilson who has so wonderfully lead the Student Care Package for a number of years handed leadership over to Cathy Butler after doing a great orientation. Cathy picked the ball right up and created new technology ......

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Successful Presence at YAC Conference

On August 8th, members of the ILYA team (Independent Living for Young Adults) attended the YAC (Youth Advisory Council) conference at Delaware State University in Dover. Betty Weir and Lori Cowan prepared a wonderful display for our “vendor” table. This is where team members got to talk with many young people in/aging out of foster ......

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Youth Advisory Committee Conference

The Delaware Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) is an organization made up of children and youth in foster care or who have aged out of foster care in Delaware. Their tag line is “Nothing about us without us.” They have been consultants to Delaware legislators and non-profit organizations and have been responsible for improving the way ......

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18 Months Later

You may remember that in January 2017, ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) gave a baby shower to a young woman who was expecting a baby in March. We are so happy to report what a positive impact this has had on the young Mom’s life. The baby shower allowed Mom and baby to have ......

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Memorial to a Brother/Son

Recently a letter was delivered to Independent Living for Young Adults (ILYA) which contained a check from Children & Families First. It was a gift in memory of someone who was an unknown supporter of ILYA but who had apparently informed Children & Families First of his belief in what we are doing for youth ......

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A Great Time was had by All

The Independent Living for Young Adults Graduation Backpack and Pizza Party project was a fantastic success again this year thanks to the generous support of the First UU congregation. It turned out that we had 17 graduates who came to the West End Neighborhood House for the party. Amy Barch had to be quick on ......

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Letter of Thanks from a Supportive Grant Recipient

ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) provides grants to young people who have aged out of foster care – most often for apartment security or utility deposits. However, other grants are sometimes provided such as one for registration fees for a community service opportunity. In requesting the grant recently, her Independent Living Coordinator wrote, “________ ......

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Pomp and Circumstance is Coming Soon!

ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) is gathering the names of graduates for this year and there are many! We’ve secured a location for the pizza party (at no cost) and are collecting sets of towels/facecloths, pop-up hampers and $25 Target gift cards to put in backpacks. As soon as we know final numbers we’ll ......

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Backpack to the Future

There’s no going back for the young people graduating high school who now age out of foster care. These  students are looking to the future having overcome challenges most of us can’t even imagine. Oftentimes they were shifted through multiple schools adding more instability to the traumatic situations that disrupted their childhoods and put them ......

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The Grads are coming! The Grads are coming!

And we need your help to be ready for them. ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) wants to make sure every young person graduating from high school who is also aging out of foster care gets the recognition they deserve for this great achievement. It’s not easy when you’re shifted around to different schools and/or ......

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Babies Expected

ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults which is the social justice program at First U supporting young people who have aged out of foster care) is having another baby shower on June 2nd. We’ve collected much of what this young mother is lacking but there are a few things still needed. We are also collecting ......

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Partnership and Learning           

Last week a group of volunteers who support the Student Care Package project in the ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) program met with some of the Independent Living Coordinators (ILCs) who work closely with the students. For those who don’t know, in Delaware, young people aging out of foster care can elect to have ......

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Helping With Moves

Too frequently, young people aging out of foster care have to move abruptly before they have a chance to find an apartment. When that happens, their Independent Living Coordinators often have to physically transport them to emergency housing but sometimes they have to take public transportation. One thing that makes that easier is having a ......

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Learning About Supporting Students After Foster Care

For many years ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) has shown support for students continuing their education after aging out of foster care. When volunteers send student “care packages” it not only provides needed or desired items but even more importantly, communicates caring and support. This bit of encouragement may be the only thing that ......

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The Power of Partnerships for Independent Living for Young Adults (ILYA)

ILYA’s partnerships with other organizations are some of our strongest programs. One such partnership is with the New Century Club of Newark. We got in touch with this organization to seek a grant for a young woman who spent her teen years in foster care after suffering serious abuse as a child. She was excused ......

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Welcoming a New Life      

Although we do not have an organizer for Baby Showers at the moment, we are continuing to collect donations to help support expectant mothers. Here is an article from 2018 with a report on one of our baby showers. We hope that we will be able to find a new organizer in the near future. ......

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Generosity That Doesn’t Stop

On Sunday, February 11th, many of you met the wonderful young people who visited our church who ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) has supported. You heard the story of one from the pulpit who told you how your support impacted her. She ended her presentation by saying, “Words cannot thank you all for all ......

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Special Offering, Sunday, February 11

The offering this Sunday, February 11, will go to ILYA allowing us to continue delivering support to these very deserving youth in your name. We hope everyone will be as generous as they can be. And if you are unable to attend church, feel free to send a check… just put “ILYA Special Collection” on ......

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Come Meet Some ILYA Youth

This Sunday is going to bring a special treat for everyone attending church. A number of youth supported by Independent Living for Young Adults (ILYA) will be visiting to tell about their experience with the support given to them by our program. It will be inspirational to see and hear the drive and determination these ......

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ILYA – A Social Justice Task Force

Many people at First U know about ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) and provide amazing support for our projects. But we have many newcomers to our church community who may not be familiar with us. And many members may not be aware of the structure in place to foster the success of all our ......

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Support for the Youngest Among Us

ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) has supported young people aging out of foster care for 12 years now. Last year, we also supported 2 infants born to young ILYA clients. In February, we’ll have a baby shower for another infant expected later this winter. Our baby showers not only provide some essential equipment and ......

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As Promised… Happy Faces

Look at some of the happy faces created by your generosity during ILYA’s (Independent Living for Young Adults) Holiday Giving campaign. These young people (and 30 some others) who have aged out of foster care are having a much better holiday knowing there’s folks out there that care. Thank you for that and for supporting ......

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All Wrapped Up

As promised, here are some pictures of your generosity with ILYA’s Holiday Giving project. Carolyn Gibson and her elves spent over 2 days preparing and wrapping the gifts you provided for our young people who have aged out of foster care. The Independent Living Coordinators for ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) have picked up ......

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Hope Shared with ILYA

This month the theme for worship is hope. Reverend Roberta talked about how hope is communicated and how it grows when it’s shared. ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) has experienced such an outpouring of hope for our young people who have aged out of foster care that there are hardly words to express our ......

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It’s gotten cold outside…

But this holiday season you have the opportunity to create a very warm feeling for a young person who has aged out of foster care. Please sign up to help ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) with their Holiday Giving project. It works like this… Young people who have aged out of foster care and ......

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The Warmest Holiday Season Yet!

As you may know from reading our recent articles, ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) had more young people who have aged out of foster care submitting “wish lists” for Holiday Giving than any previous year. We were worried initially because that’s a lot of wishes to address but you all have come through once ......

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Only 2 Weeks Til Christmas!!

No, not the official holiday but the deadline we have to get all of our ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) Holiday Giving wrapped and delivered to young people who have aged out of foster care. These young people are out on their own and won’t have much of a holiday without us. ILYA has ......

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Last Minute Notification Came In

ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) got a last minute notification that 2 additional students are requesting Student Care Packages. So we’re looking for 2 more volunteers willing to send small packages to a student 5 times during the school year. These students are seeking the emotional support of someone reaching out more than the ......

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