TYLER – On Wednesday August 13th, 80 local youth in foster care celebrated the coming of the new school year at a Back-to-School Bash hosted by the BCFS Tyler Transition Center. The youth, joined by about 20 volunteers, traveled to Amazing Jakes, an indoor amusement park in Plano, for go-karts, laser tag, miniature golf, bumper cars and arcade games.
The event also celebrated the 70th anniversary of BCFS, the global system of health and human service non-profit organizations that operates the Tyler Transition Center and six others like it across Texas.
BCFS Tyler Transition Center hosts the annual Back-to-School Bash to reward youth for staying in school, focusing on their studies, and participating in other BCFS events throughout the year aimed at keeping them on the right path.
Youth in foster care are statistically less likely to excel in school, graduate high school or attend college, so Program Director Carla Sash of the BCFS Tyler Transition Center says the event is also geared towards inspiring the mostly juniors and seniors in attendance to prepare for college.
“On the road, case managers met with kids that had questions about college applications or financial aid, we discussed the upcoming year of events, and asked what types of workshops or services are most helpful for supporting them in their education,” says Sash. “The celebration is our way of saying thank you for participating, and keep up the hard work.”
“Empowering our youth with education is one of the most valuable services the transition center provides – from reducing high school dropout rates to helping first-generation college students graduate,” says Terri Hipps, executive director of BCFS’ Community Services Division. “So to prepare for a new school year, we energize the kids to stay focused and plugged into our programs for support.”
BCFS’ Tyler Transition Center serves youth in and aging out of foster care, as well as other young adults facing challenges like homelessness, poverty, or those recovering from physical and emotional abuse. The center is a “one-stop-stop” that provides counseling, case management, and assistance with education, employment, housing location and medical care.
Community partners that supported the Back-to-School Bash through donations or volunteers include BCFS, Chez Bazan, Chuck’s Travel, Amazing Jakes, and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
To learn more about the BCFS Tyler Transition Center, visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net/Tyler or call (903) 526-0882.