If you’re like me, your inbox and social channels have been inundated today with appeals from various non-profits. I love the concept of Giving Tuesday because it puts worthwhile causes in front of us that we may not have otherwise known about. Here at SaintA, we have one of those lesser-known causes with our Independent Living Services (ILS) program.
A recent survey of our ILS clients revealed an interesting paradox. The vast majority of the 18-25-year-old former foster youth who were surveyed said they had witnessed – or even, experienced – violence. Yet, a very small percentage described their neighborhoods as being “unsafe.”
This made us wonder if violence is the new normal and if Milwaukee’s young people had just come to accept it as part of life. And then, the unrest in the Sherman Park neighborhood happened and it just sort of confirmed our fears.
The good news is, we have a unique opportunity with the newly aged-out population. It’s cliché but they really are the future. Their successful transition into adulthood greatly impacts the social and economic climate of our cities. Our job is to provide the resources they need to create stability for themselves and those around them. In the case of our ILS services, we focus on the big ones: Education, Employment, Housing and Health; everything any one of us needs to be successful in life.
Although I am no expert on how to turn a city around, I do know what I have seen in the young adults in our ILS program. They’re techie and thoughtful. They’re totally immersed in popular culture. They’re young, so they have the energy the rest of us long for as we age.
What’s more, our ILS clients have a resiliency few of us can even begin to understand because most of us didn’t have to survive the foster care system. Most of us don’t have an ACE score of 5 or higher. If we did have adversity, most likely there was some sort of intervention, a turning point, where we can say “Thank God for that teacher, or this church, or my family pulling itself together…” or whatever the case may be.
Usually the only thing we have in common is that none of us can do it alone. So please think about where your valuable dollars will go today and I hope you’ll consider SaintA.
(P.S. Once you’re on our donate page, you can choose “Independent Living Services” from the drop-down menu.)
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