In May 2020, early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the President of Harbor58 was asked to help foster youth turning 18 and on the brink of homelessness. Upon research, it was shocking to realize how few resources were available for these young people in our community. Aging out of the foster care system means these young people are removed from situations of abuse or neglect, and their biological parents were not able to complete their case plan to be reunified before their 18th birthday. If the parental rights were terminated, these are the youth who have never been adopted. Feeling abused and passed over by the system, most youth are counting down the days until they are on their own. Little do they realize how inadequately experienced and equipped they are for this transition.
Harbor58 will meet the most urgent and basic needs by first providing housing and helping foster youth feed and clothe themselves, but not with the bare minimum of care.
We plan to help them see their value through their surroundings - a beautiful cottage community to call home for 18 months. That is just the beginning, as on-site mental health services, life skills courses, apprenticeship opportunities, and mentorship will afford them opportunities like their peers who have grown up in traditional home settings. We will provide quality and personal attention, with a model that will be duplicable by others who have the desire to help with this population. Success will be seeing these youth transition into adulthood empowered and equipped to meet their full potential.
Like family, Harbor58 will be with them all the way - even after they leave.