Thursday, February 11, 2010

Alaska Community Services Lobbying for Mentors for Those Aging Out of Foster Care

The hallways of the Capitol are crawling with people lobbying for one thing or another.  While there are professional lobbyists, most seem to be relatively ordinary people with ordinary jobs who only come down here once in a session.   Here are two people talking with a legislative staffer about their program and he's gathering data for his boss.  This is in the new public lounge in the Thomas Stewart Building. 

In my new perch in the staff/public lounge I get to meet a few, but there's a limit to how many I can film and post about.  But I do want to keep putting people up so you don't forget that they are here.  I wanted to get a picture of the stairwell today, packed with people, but I was already late for something.

Here are two people from Alaska Community Services who were lobbying for a program to recruit, train, and coordinate mentors for kids aging out of the foster care program.  I have a soft spot for this sort of work since I did some mentoring for kids like that at Covenant House.

Studies show mentors have a big positive impact on kids like this.  Here's a quote from a former foster kid from their handout about the transition he had from being in the foster care system and then aging out:

"It's just like one day everybody is there for you and the next day, you are on your own.  I didn't understand what my credit score was.  I didn't understand anything about how to find an apartment, or how to buy a car or how not to be taken advantage of."

All the ways that mothers and fathers and older siblings and aunts and uncles and family friends their their young adult relatives, these kids have to figure out on their own, because that network doesn't exist for them at all.  Think what you or your children would have done at that age thrown out into the world with no one to go to for help.  That's why mentors can make such a big difference. 

[In the background in the video, you can see Sen. French come into the Thomas Stewart building from the bridge from the Capitol Building, the try to go up the stairs and see they are blocked off because they are finishing them, then head to the stairs at the other end of the building.]

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