Community Foundation of Abilene Awards BCFS Grant to Expand Reach

Community Foundation of Abilene Awards $24,000 Grant to
BCFS Health and Human Services to Expand its Reach

Photo Caption: April Young and Chelsea Bankes (BCFS’ Social Work Interns from Abilene Christian University) serve youth from foster care, local fathers, homeless young men, juvenile justice youth, and at-risk teens & youth

ABILENE –  The Community Foundation of Abilene has awarded BCFS Health and Human Services a $24,000 grant to hire an additional Youth Support Case Manager to serve local youth struggling with homelessness, poverty, unemployment or an unstable home life. The Youth Support Case Manager will help youth from troubled backgrounds achieve stability and self-sufficiency by providing guidance, support and connections to local resources.

After completing a comprehensive needs-assessment of each youth, the case manager will help them identify their personal, educational and professional goals and develop a transition plan.

The case manager will provide ongoing support necessary to help the youth achieve their goals – which may include help securing housing; employment support like resume-building and work skills training; and educational support including tutoring or help submitting college or financial aid applications.

“We are grateful for the continued partnership of The Community Foundation of Abilene in serving local young men and women in need,” said Emily Cole, BCFS Health and Human Services Regional Director. “This grant enables us to fill gaps between other funding sources and ensure that all the youth that walk in our doors can receive the help they need.”

The new case manager will serve youth from the BCFS Health and Human Services center, as well as BCFS’ Our House. The BCFS center provides case management, counseling, and  assistance with education, employment and housing to teens and youth. Many of the youth served at the center have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect and spent time in foster care, or have been involved in the juvenile justice system. The center is open to any youth who need a quiet study spot, a home away from home, or a chat with a counselor or mentor. BCFS Health and Human Services also provides parenting education courses for fathers to learn healthy communication and parent-child bonding tips.

BCFS’ Our House is a transitional living home that provides temporary shelter to young men in Abilene who are struggling with homelessness. Residents at BCFS’ Our House connect to programs at the BCFS Health and Human Services center for help furthering their education, securing employment, and learning life skills to prepare to move out on their own.

For more information about BCFS Health and Human Services’ work in Abilene, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Abilene or call (325) 692-0033.

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

 

 

 

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Abilene Transition Center and Our House receives $15,500 Community Foundation of Abilene Grant

The Community Foundation of Abilene has awarded $15,500 to BCFS’ Abilene Transition Center and Our House, which serve local youth aging out of foster care and those struggling with homelessness, poverty and other issues. The grant provides discretionary funds to be used for operational costs, transportation expenses and GED testing fees.

ABILENE — The Community Foundation of Abilene has awarded $15,500 to BCFS’ Abilene Transition Center and Our House, which serve local youth aging out of foster care and those struggling with homelessness, poverty and other issues. The grant provides discretionary funds to be used for operational costs, transportation expenses and GED testing fees.
The BCFS Abilene Transition Center provides youth with case management, counseling and assistance with education, employment and housing. Many of the youth have been removed from their biological parents due to abuse or neglect and spent time in foster care, or have been involved in the juvenile justice system. Other young adults make the center their “home away from home” to have a safe place to study after school, and mentors to keep them on the right path.
BCFS’ Our House provides young men struggling with homelessness a safe, stable living environment. Our House residents plug into services at the transition center to work towards self-sufficiency, finish high school or earn a GED, find a job, save money for their own apartment, and apply for college.
“The Community Foundation of Abilene is proud to support the tremendous work of BCFS Health and Human Services’ Abilene Transition Center,” said Community Foundation of Abilene President and CEO Katie Alford. “Local teens and young adults now have a resource that simply didn’t exist here, and it’s truly making a difference in our community.”
“It’s an honor and privilege to partner with the Community Foundation of Abilene to serve youth in need in the Big Country,” said BCFS Development Officer Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie. “The foundation continues to bless young men and women working with BCFS to become successful, contributing members of the Abilene community.”
For more information about the BCFS Abilene Transition Center, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Abilene or call (325) 692-0033.

BCFS Commits $225,000 Challenge Grant to Abilene’s “Our House”

Commitment is in addition to $250,000 in capital and construction costs BCFS has already invested in the transitional living home

Last December, BCFS Health and Human Services (BCFS HHS) celebrated the grand opening of its transitional living home for homeless teens and young adults, called “Our House.” Now, BCFS HHS’ parent company, BCFS, is committing a $225,000 challenge grant over three years to solidly plant the organization’s footprint and mission in Abilene for years to come. The grant must be matched by the community, and is in addition to the $250,000 in capital and construction costs BCFS has already invested in Our House, and the $194,000 contributed by the city and private donors.

“We are investing in the Our House program because we believe in its mission, its effectiveness, and its ability to make Abilene a better place for everyone who calls this city their home,” said Kevin C. Dinnin, BCFS President and CEO.

“With the support of community leaders, private funders, and our sister agencies, Hendrick Medical Center and Hardin-Simmons University, I know the Abilene community has the passion and motivation needed to get our youth off the streets and onto the path of stable, independent and successful lives. Our House is proud to be part of that mission.”

According to the Abilene Independent School District, an estimated 981 students were homeless at the end of the 2010-2011 academic year. Foster youth are especially vulnerable to homelessness. In fact, within 18 months of aging out of the state foster care system, 50 percent of youth struggle to put a roof over their heads.

Our House addresses the issue of homelessness head-on and provides a pipeline into BCFS HHS’ Abilene Transition Center, which houses a comprehensive network of community organizations, as well as private and government partners, that makes accessing resources simple for at-risk youth.

“Comprehensive services, like those coordinated through BCFS HHS’ Abilene Transition Center, are seen as lifesavers when you consider the overwhelming likelihood of foster youth and those in the juvenile justice system becoming homeless, addicted to drugs and alcohol, and involved in crime,” said Johnny Nguyen, Program Director for BCFS HHS’ Abilene Transition Center.

The vision for Our House was sparked by Abilene’s Christian Community Development Corporation (CCDC), whose board members included passionate and influential community members like Randy Perkins and Nancy Capra. At CCDC’s request, BCFS HHS took on the project of bringing Our House from a dream, to reality.

Today, Our House provides a safe haven for males between the ages of 18-23. The decision to serve young men exclusively was based on the higher demand for housing for young men than young women. Plus, there are currently more options available to young women.

“It is critical that these young and impressionable young men have a safe place just for them. Because of the struggles they’ve faced in foster care or as a result of other traumas, they are extraordinarily vulnerable to becoming victimized and influenced by older individuals who are also coping with the issues surrounding homelessness,” said Nguyen.

Some youth may need help from BCFS HHS’ Our House for a month, while another young adult may need to stay for a year. BCFS HHS designs each youth’s transition plan based on their specific strengths and needs. While young adults aren’t charged rent in the traditional sense, they are required to save money. This is put aside in a fund available to them when they leave to use toward a down payment for an apartment. Ultimately, this is just one of many ways BCFS HHS helps stabilize and develop youth toward becoming independent, law-abiding adults who aren’t reliant on government or social services.

BCFS Health & Human Services celebrates the opening of Our House

BCFS Health and Human Services today celebrated the opening of its new “Our House” program. BCFS’ Our House is a transitional living home for homeless males between the ages of 18-23, located at 202 Vine Street. The vision for Our House was sparked years ago by the Christian Community Development Coalition (CCDC)….

ABILENE – BCFS Health and Human Services today celebrated the opening of its new “Our House” program. BCFS’ Our House is a transitional living home for homeless males between the ages of 18-23, located at 202 Vine Street.

The vision for Our House was sparked years ago by the Christian Community Development Coalition (CCDC), whose board members included passionate community members like Randy Perkins and Nancy Capra. At CCDC’s request, BCFS took on the project of bringing Our House from a dream to reality.

“It’s hard to chase your dreams when you’re worried about where you’re going to sleep at night or get your next meal,” said Terri Hipps, BCFS Executive Director of Teen and Youth Services.

“Homelessness impacts much more than the individual, it has a compounding effect on the health and prosperity of the whole community,” she continued. “BCFS is proud to have had the strong support of community leaders like Mayor Norm Archibald and the City of Abilene, as well as partner agencies, as we worked to build and open Our House and begin answering this vital need.”

Thanks to funding from numerous private foundations, individual donors, and a community development block grant through the City of Abilene, BCFS’ Our House represents a nearly $345,000 investment in serving struggling Abilene youth. Prior to opening, BCFS ensured that it secured enough revenue to cover Our House’s operating expenses for at least the first year. This tactic was a powerful statement of BCFS’ commitment to be a sustainable, long-term resource for youth and the community.

Youth may stay at Our House for as long as needed, which may range from a few months to a year. The key strength of the project will be its connection with BCFS’ Abilene Transition Center, which opened in 2011 and provides counseling, case management, and education, housing assistance and employment connections to more than 400 youth each year.

Those assisted by the transition center include former foster youth, youth in the juvenile justice system, high school drop outs and homeless young adults. According to the Abilene Independent School District, an estimated 743 students in were homeless at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year. Foster youth are especially vulnerable to homelessness. Within 18 months of aging out of the state foster care system, 50 percent of youth struggle to put a roof over their heads. BCFS’ transition center and Our House project address these issues head-on, providing an easily-accessible and comprehensive network that makes getting help simple for youth.

“We are thankful to the community leaders, the City of Abilene, and our sister agencies, Hendrick Medical Center  and Hardin-Simmons University, for their partnership and support,” said BCFS President and CEO Kevin C. Dinnin.

For more information about BCFS’ work with teen and youth around the world, please visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net.