Long Island Community Foundation Grant Enables Youth Transition to Work Program

Students from Little Flower listen intently during an Orientation for the new employment-readiness program.

OLD BETHPAGE, NY (TIP): Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE) announced that they have received a grant from the Long Island Community Foundation to help support a Transition to Work program for youth in foster and residential care. This program is a collaborative venture between Little Flower Children and Family Services of NY (Little Flower) and FREE. The purpose of the program is to assist youth in foster and residential care by providing them with information, skills and tools needed to secure employment as they age out of the system. Students from Little Flower participated in an Orientation for the new employment-readiness program on Monday, April 27th.

“We at FREE are thrilled to be partnering with a prestigious organization such as Little Flower, who have such a long tradition of helping this underserved population. Giving these young men and women the tools needed to be successful thriving members of society is not only good for them, but good for our county,” said Robert S. Budd, CEO of FREE.

Approximately 20 students will participate in a 10-week program aimed at helping them explore career paths, identify their strengths, develop resumes and cover letters, and learn how to navigate the job search and interviewing process, along with tips to succeed during the initial phase of their employment. The participants who successfully complete the program will be assisted in finding apprenticeships, internships, and entry-level jobs so that they can be positioned to take the next steps in their career journey.

Monroe Hale, Assistant Executive Director at Little Flower, was pleased to collaborate with FREE on this important venture, the objective of which is to provide youth the opportunity to develop core interests and vocational skills that will enable them to develop to their full potential and live productive and fulfilling lives upon leaving Little Flower. Recent reports by New York State have cited a high incidence of foster care youth leaving facilities without the tools needed to succeed as adults. This reinforces the need for more programs such as this. The Transition to Work project will be used as a model for others to utilize to assist foster care youth throughout the region, and eventually the State.

Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE) founded in 1977 and headquartered in Old Bethpage, benefits and proudly supports more than 4,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities, mental illness and traumatic brain injury. It is the mission of FREE to help individuals of all abilities realize their full potential. FREE provides a diverse array of supports and services including: housing, recovery services, transition to work, employment, day, community and family services, respite, crisis services, education and after-school support, primary and specialty health care and advocacy. For more information, please call516-870-7000 or visit www.familyres.org.

For over 85 years Little Flower has been guided by the mission to provide hope and help to thousands of people every year. In 2014 alone the agency managed the successful adoption of 60 children into new families, served over 900 children in loving foster families, cared for 137 children in the Residential Treatment and Respite Centers, helped 132 children return to their own families, assisted 44 young adults to begin life on their own, and helped over 350 adults with developmental disabilities to lead more rewarding lives.

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