In May of 2018, FYI received a call from a DCFS social worker seeking help. Five siblings, all current and former foster youth, had been placed by the court under the care of their grandmother, but she had just passed away. Two youth were minors and were being moved to foster homes on the day of the call. The three non-minor brothers faced an unknown future. Ownership of the grandmother’s home was in question, but the young men were making payments to an uncle to "try to save the house."
The oldest brother was enrolled at a for-profit college, where he had been encouraged to incur debt to pursue a program that didn’t interest him. With FYI’s help, he withdrew from the program and enrolled at College of the Canyons, where he could attend for free and take classes toward becoming a teacher, which was his preferred career. FYI provided him with an Ally, who immediately began helping him develop a budget.
The second brother was also paired with an Ally. Due to his special needs, his grandmother had been receiving government benefits on his behalf. FYI helped the oldest brother obtain custodianship so he could receive his benefits and be responsible for his care. His Ally became indispensable to him, taking him shopping for groceries and attending his athletic events.
The third brother was the last of the three to join FYI. Initially unsure if he wanted an Ally, he quickly realized the benefit of having his own support person. Interested in pursuing a trade, he enrolled in classes at COC. He slowly let down his guard and began trusting his Ally more and more.
In September of 2018, the brothers faced the serious and immediate threat of homelessness when they learned they were being evicted from their grandmother's home. With no security deposit, no budget and no direction, they turned to FYI for help. Their team of Allies came together. An anonymous donor provided half of the security deposit. FYI’s Program Director found an apartment for them, and the FYI team held them accountable to pool their resources and pay their monthly rent on time.
It has now been one year since the brothers moved into their very own apartment, and they have paid their rent on time every month! Two of the brothers are currently working on getting their driver's licenses so they can stop relying on public transportation and start utilizing the old but well-maintained van that was donated to FYI for their use! The brother with special needs has gotten a job, an achievement that once seemed impossible to him. FYI has guided them through tax problems, dental issues, bank fraud and other challenges. Most importantly, the brothers have found a family in FYI. When they have something to celebrate, as the oldest brother did when he recently passed his written driver’s test, they call FYI.
Three brothers are living independently, connected to a caring community and looking forward to a promising future. Where would they be without FYI?