Change A Life. Become An Ally.
"I'm being kicked out of my apartment," she cried frantically via FaceTime. "Can you come over now?"
FYI Ally Katherine put aside what she was working on and drove over to Jill's apartment, not knowing what to expect. When she arrived, Jill was still crying as her Transitional Housing Program (THP) social worker sat calmly across the room. Katherine pieced together the details as the two provided information. Neighbors had complained about an alleged fight between Jill, her guests, and a neighbor, and Jill was being told she had to leave. The incident was triggering terrible memories of all the times Jill had been kicked out of a foster home without any right to defend herself. Advocating for Jill, Katherine asked the social worker why she was being evicted without first receiving a written warning. The social worker explained that it was the apartment management, not the THP agency, that was kicking Jill out. The agency would be willing to move Jill to another apartment, but with none available in Santa Clarita, she would have to move outside the valley.
After listening to Jill's side of the story, Katherine was convinced that the apartment management needed to hear it, too. She persuaded the social worker, who then called her supervisor and got permission to schedule a meeting with the apartment manager the following day.
The next morning, Jill texted, "Katherine, you don't have to come. I've accepted what it is, and I don't want to deal with it anymore." Katherine immediately called her and said, "You deserve to be heard. If you have to move, we will make it work, but it will be much easier for you if you can stay here, where you work and go to school. Even if there's only a 5% chance of changing his mind, it's worth it to meet with the manager." Jill agreed, and the meeting took place.
The manager not only heard what Jill had to say, but he offered valuable advice based on his own difficult past experiences. Ultimately, Jill was allowed to stay in her home and learned that she CAN advocate for herself, and people will listen.
What if Jill didn't have an FYI Ally? What would her life and her chances for success look like if she had been moved away from school, work, and the community of caring adults who support her? FYI not only connects youth to resources and makes sure they secure financial aid. FYI offers each youth an advocate who shows up and cares.
If you are interested in becoming that advocate for a youth aging out of the foster care system, please contact our Volunteer Outreach Coordinator, Teri Gaudioso, at email@example.com.