Youth in Need Have New Lease on Life With Donation From The Jim Moran Foundation to HANDY
DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. - For many teens who are growing up in foster care or in protective custody, transitioning to adulthood presents a whole new set of challenges. While other youth are focused on college or workforce decisions, those who have been involved in child welfare programs often have to worry about the basics like food and housing. Now, with a $75,000 donation from The Jim Moran Foundation, HANDY, Inc. can better prepare and provide opportunities for more and more of these deserving young people.
HANDY, which stands for Helping Abused, Neglected, Dependent Youth, provides a variety of services in Broward County, Fla. designed to enrich the lives of young people in need. For youth making the transition to adulthood, the organization has developed the LIFE (Life Skills, Independent Living, Foundation Building and Education) Transitional Living Program to help prevent homelessness and poverty for youth who have aged out of Broward County's child welfare system. As part of the program, HANDY assists in locating and negotiating rental housing with landlords, and subsidizing monthly rent for students who are continuing their education for a high school diploma, GED, college or vocational degree. To encourage independence and the development of life skills, those benefiting from the services are responsible for their leases. Each youth in the LIFE Transitional Living Program signs an Independent Living Housing Contract as accountability for the HANDY services provided.
The LIFE Transitional Living Program also provides food vouchers and bus passes, assists in securing scholarships and educational dollars, and coordinates apprenticeship programs, employment connections and mentors. In addition, the program offers a network of community resources, and partners with the business community to provide employment opportunities.
"When we evaluated the scope and effectiveness of HANDY's LIFE Transitional Living Program, and its vital self-help component, we were eager to partner with them to give these young people a real chance for success," said The Foundation's Chairman and President Jan Moran. "The Foundation's mission is to improve the quality of life for youth and families of Florida through the support of innovative programs and opportunities like this one."
"The LIFE Transitional Living Program includes academic, career and housing assistance during the critical period of transition from youth to adulthood," Moran noted. "In addition, HANDY truly cares about these young people. They are an extension of family providing support, encouragement and life skills training to instill self-esteem, self-sufficiency and success."
The Jim Moran Foundation has been actively involved in addressing the crisis of young adults leaving the child welfare system without any significant practical, emotional or financial support. In 2003, The Jim Moran Foundation joined the Community Foundation of Broward County (CFB) to become the first funders to support the development of programs that specifically address the needs of youth 18-23 who "age out" of the system. In addition to joining the CFB in allocating $200,000 for grants, The Jim Moran Foundation designated a separate $70,000 grant to Kids@Home for a pilot program to create Broward County's first transitional foster care apartment setting.
"The national statistics of what happens to the youth when they age out of the child welfare system is daunting," noted HANDY's Executive Director Arlene Ratner. More than a third of the youth exiting the child welfare system are homeless within three months, only half will have completed high school, many are unemployed or only capable of earning minimum wages. By partnering with The Jim Moran Foundation, HANDY can help reverse this trend in Broward by supplying the support and services they need to give them the necessary tools, training and opportunities for success in life." HANDY's mission is to provide a lifeline for the abused, neglected and dependent youth of Broward County by responding to their needs and enriching their lives on a day-to-day basis. For more information on HANDY, contact Executive Director Arlene Ratner (954) 523-7210, or visit www.handyinc.org.
About The Jim Moran Foundation
The mission of The Jim Moran Foundation is to improve the quality of life for the youth and families of Florida through the support of innovative programs and opportunities that meet the ever-changing needs of the community. It is located at 100 Jim Moran Boulevard, Deerfield Beach, Fla. 33442. To learn more about The Foundation visit www.jimmoranfoundation.org or call 954/429-2122.
HANDY (Helping Abused, Neglected, Dependent Youth) has met the specialized needs of Broward County's abused, neglected, and abandoned children since its founding in 1985. For more than 20 years, the non-profit organization has provided comprehensive, direct-service programs to aid children and meet their emergency needs for clothing, food, beds and cribs. Educational programs and scholarships, recreational activities, summer camp and social programs provide valuable childhood opportunities for youth to enjoy that they would not otherwise experience. More recently, independent living skills training has been implemented to assist youth with their transition into adulthood. In fiscal year 2004-2005, HANDY provided comprehensive program services to 2,414 children in Broward County's child welfare system. For more information call (954) 523-7210 x 207.