KERRVILLE, TX – Fifteen young women from the foster care system in San Antonio traveled to Kerrville with BCFS Health and Human Services staff to participate in the Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) Lock-In, an interactive event to help youth prepare for life after foster care.
The lock-in, a quarterly event hosted by BCFS Health and Human Services, is a 30-hour intensive version of the six-week PAL curriculum that teaches youth six life skills topics: personal/social relationships, health and safety, job readiness, housing and transportation, financial management, and life decisions and responsibilities. The goal of the lock-in is to help youth in foster care practice their life skills in real world scenarios, according to BCFS Program Director Rachael Fletcher.
“We want the youth to have all the skills they need to live independently, starting the day they are emancipated from foster care,” says Fletcher. “By practicing during lock-ins, they get a glimpse into adulthood – like how they’ll rent their first apartment, how they’ll cook for themselves, and how to make smart decisions and stay focused on their goals.”
Upon arrival Friday afternoon, the young women broke up into three workgroups, kicked off with some icebreaker activities, and each group was assigned a meal to prepare – breakfast, lunch or dinner. They all headed to the grocery store, with budgets in hand, to shop for nutritious ingredients for their assigned meal. After a lively cooking session in the BCFS Hill Country Resource Center kitchen, the young women cleaned up after themselves – another basic, yet important, part of the lesson, says Fletcher.
After the meal-planning session, the lock-in schedule includes lessons on personal finance, job readiness, and serious subjects like sexual health and human trafficking.
Several of BCFS-San Antonio’s community partners joined in to provide presentations to the youth. Ransomed Life and Traffick911 collaborated to lead a presentation on the dangers and warning signs of human trafficking, and Kerrville realtor Tim Thomason taught the young women about the process of renting an apartment (Image of presentation above, courtesy of Tim Thomason).
On the last day of the lock-in, the young women received a binder full of community resources they can access when they age out of foster care. For more information about BCFS Health and Human Services, visit DiscoverBCFS.net or call 210-733-7932.