"LIFE Skills was there for me even when I wasn't there for myself. They gave me the opportunities and pushes I needed. They helped me get where I am now, which is close to a career in IT."

Andrew Liriano | Age 20

 

 
 
 
 

LIFE Skills by the numbers

LIFE Skills Foundation has been providing housing and wraparound supports for transition age youth since 2014.  LIFE Skills provides the missing supports youth need (“wraparound” services) - which can seem small, but add up to become large hurdles in their lives. Some of these services include taking them to the doctor, helping them shop and budget, making sure they get to school, helping them open a bank account, encouraging them to graduate and challenging them to plan and save for the future.

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Overall

  • LIFE Skills served 92 transition age youth in 2017, plus seven of their young children

  • Nearly half participated in two or more customized services, such as counseling and wraparound supports, and nearly one fourth received three or more services

Transitional Housing

  • Most youth stay at LIFE SKills for 12-18 months

  • Housed 17 formerly homeless youth: 9 moved to stable housing, 7 remained at LIFE Skills and 1 left the program abruptly

  • 90% of those in the transitional housing program completed an educational/vocational program

  • 90% of those who left transitional housing moved into stable housing

  • 80% maintained at least part-time employment

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Housing Assistance

  • Working with 21 youth to obtain and maintain their own stable housing

  • Of those eligible to work, 90% maintained employment

Mental Health and Wraparound Supports

  • Provided mental health and wraparound services for nearly 30 transitional youth outside of the two housing programs

  • 15 additional youth received therapy support only

  • Spent nearly $35,000 on food, clothing, school fees, employment opportunities and more to help support transitional youth

Independent Living Skills Groups

  • Nearly 50 youth participated in independent living classes, helping provide needed skills for life on their own. These groups cover all of our LIFE Skills Domains, such as Housing and Financial Literacy

See our 2017  Annual Report for more details.


Partnerships are key

Like most people moving towards independence, the transition age youth we serve have complex individual needs. However, many lack the traditional family supports available to other young adults into their twenties and beyond. LIFE Skills provides the missing supports our clients need including taking them to the doctor, helping them shop and budget, making sure they get to school, helping them open a bank account, encouraging them to graduate and challenging them to plan and save for the future. Some of the wraparound supports we provide seem like small things, but they add up. For example, during the 2105-16 fiscal year, we provided 720 meals and 1400 bus passes to help our clients stay healthy, get to work and attend classes.

Connecting our clients with the services and supports they need requires a wide range of partners. No one organization can do it all! Here are some of our many partners helping transition age youth:


Street Outreach and Beyond

LIFE Skills has brought together a group of service providers and other partners to establish a collaboratively staffed Young Adult Resource Center called the HUB.  This free daytime resource center will be open to any homeless or housing insecure young adult. They will be able to shower, eat, receive clothing and toiletries, meet with mental health or other needed coordinators of service, and receive help in securing housing, education, employment and other assistance with the transition to being on their own. Read more about this exciting project.


Measuring Progress

It is challenging to put numbers on the changes we see at LIFE Skills. However, it is important for both staff and clients to be able to chart those changes. In early 2016, we began quantitatively assessing the six areas that research shows are critical for young people to succeed at living independently. These areas are employment, education, housing, finances, health and support networks. In 2017, we saw an average score improvement of 6 points for the 24 participants able to be tracked.  While some clients progressed and others faced setbacks during this time, the trend is encouraging. No matter where you begin or how you look at it, 6  steps on the diagram below represents a lot of change! No matter where you begin or how you look at it, 7 steps on the diagram below represents a lot of change!

Each point in the six areas below represents a major step on the ladder to independence. 

Young adults who reach the top of all six ladders are well-prepared for success on their own.

 
 

 
 

How Your Donation Helps

The systems designed for adults and children often leave transition age youth out in the cold. For those aging out of foster care, turning 18 can mean homelessness and insecurity. LIFE Skills provides a safe and supportive place where youth can get the skills they need to transition to independence. We envision a future where no young people have to struggle to find a place to sleep or enough to eat. The reality is that LIFE Skills must turn away more youth than we serve. With the number of Durham youth in foster care rising rapidly, this situation is only going to get worse. Every donation makes a difference!