By Kathleen Maxwell
No eighteen year old has it all together (or nineteen or twenty year old either for that matter). Navigating the confusing web of first time apartment leases, financial aid forms, and the spice aisle at the grocery store is enough to make any young adult’s head spin. Now, compound this overwhelming feeling onto aging out of foster care without a parent, grandparent, or other positive role model to bestow tips and tools. How are these youth supposed to make it on their own?
Enter: BCFS Health and Human Services’ (BCFS HHS) Kerrville Transition Center.
The youth center was founded in Kerrville five years ago, a “one stop” facility that offers counseling, case management, medical care, and emergency housing. The center also helps with life skills training, literacy training, educational support, and employment connections to former foster youth, youth in the juvenile justice system, high school drop outs and homeless young adults.
Because other non-profit organizations, government agencies, and community partners are housed and work at the center with BCFS HHS, services are more easily accessed by youth and existing resources are not wastefully duplicated elsewhere. This methodology also boosts innovation through shared talents and stretches financial resources to support many missions.
Since opening, BCFS HHS’ Kerrville Transition Center has helped thousands of homeless and struggling youth find the resources they need to get their lives on track and grow into self-sufficient, law-abiding and employed adults. This year, the center is set to help more than 4,000 struggling young adults in our area.
“The benefits of the transition center reach beyond just the teens and youth we serve. It impacts the community through the prevention of crime, unemployment, teen pregnancy, homelessness, and drug and substance abuse,” said Terri Hipps, BCFS Executive Director for Teen & Youth Services. “When we leverage our talent, space, and resources in a smart and shared way, the results are lives that are more promising and a community that is more prosperous.”
Today, the demand for services has increased exponentially, causing the center’s programs to now spill out into different locations – negating the effectiveness of the “one stop” model. This is one reason why Sandy Cailloux and the Cailloux Foundation put forward a $500,000 challenge grant to build a new 16,000 square foot center.
To complete the project, BCFS HHS is leading a $1.9 million capital campaign, titled “Step Up for Youth.” Once complete, the center will house other non-profits like Art to Heart, Families in Literacy, and Partners in Ministry Vision Youth. This new center will create a dynamic synergism among the agencies, increase their effectiveness as well as cut down costs for all nonprofits. Ultimately, making the center will be the most robust site for care and compassion for Hill Country youth.
“BCFS is unique and invaluable to our community because [the organization] provides kids with no prospects ‘one-stop shopping’ that will give them an array of opportunities,” said Stacie Keeble, attorney and City Councilman. “At the new BCFS campus, kids will be able to finish high school or earn a GED, learn a trade, obtain a job, find encouragement, and even find a home.”
BCFS’ Kerrville Transition Center is presently located at 1105 East Main. To donate to the “Step Up for Youth” campaign, please visit www.BCFS.net or mail your tax deductible donation to: “BCFS – Step Up for Youth Campaign,” 550 Earl Garrett Suite 114, Kerrville, Texas 78028. For questions, contact Kathleen Maxwell at 830.928.9387 or at Kathleen.Maxwell@BCFS.net.