BCFS HHS Providing Foster Youth with a Full “Hope Chest”

Each year, BCFS Health and Human Services’ (BCFS HHS) Lubbock Transition Center holds the “Hope Chest” luncheon to celebrate local foster youth who are graduating from high school and college, and equip them for their next steps toward adulthood and independence. Each college student receives a $1,000 Target gift card and high school graduates receive $550 in store credit to stock up on necessities like household items, bedding, towels and kitchenware.

LUBBOCK – Each year, BCFS Health and Human Services’ (BCFS HHS) Lubbock Transition Center holds the “Hope Chest” luncheon to celebrate local foster youth who are graduating from high school and college, and equip them for their next steps toward adulthood and independence. Each college student receives a $1,000 Target gift card and high school graduates receive $550 in store credit to stock up on necessities like household items, bedding, towels and kitchenware. After the luncheon, the high school grads descend on Target with their shopping list of essentials and a staff member or volunteer to guide them on their ultimate shopping spree.
“Graduating high school and college is a tremendous achievement for any young adult, especially one who has faced instability and uncertainty in the foster care system,” explained Kami Jackson, director of the BCFS HHS Lubbock Transition Center. “Our Hope Chest event is a time when the whole community can come together and show these youth how proud of them we are.”
For teens aging out of foster care, BCFS HHS youth transition centers offer more than “one stop” ease to accessing resources and assistance. The case managers, counselors, college advisors and other community resources housed in the centers instill accountability, encouragement and direction to teens making the transition into adulthood. Similar to the role of a parent or other adult mentor, transition centers teach youth basic life skills, like how to manage a bank account or rent an apartment. They also offer career training and connections, educational assistance, literacy-boosting programs, and more.
Each youth is given a budget and a list of items they can buy. Youth do not have enough money to purchase everything on the list or buy all name-brand items, so they must decide what essentials they need and how much they are willing to pay. Target also provides a 10% discount, which youth must calculate before heading to the register.
“One of the coolest things about our Hope Chest shopping experience is that it teaches youth the importance of money management,” said Jackson. “It’s important for us to create these parameters and give our youth a list to stick to for a couple of reasons. For one, most 18 year olds don’t automatically think of needing to buy sponges or dish detergent. And two, if we didn’t put guidelines in place, I bet every youth would walk out of Target with a big screen TV instead of a shower curtain. The former is obviously not an essential.”
BCFS HHS’ transition centers are making a real difference in the lives of foster and at-risk youth – removing barriers to success and equipping them with the resources they need to become independent, successful and law-abiding adults. Every penny given to the Hope Chest benefit goes directly toward gift cards for graduating youth.
To learn more about the organization’s work with youth and young adults or to donate to the Hope Chest, please visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Lubbock.