Giving Tuesday

November 23rd

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"A Home for the Holidays" for Former Foster Youth in Central TX

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BeREAL moving day[story by Sarah Crocker, BeREAL Austin transitional services program director]

BeREAL [Ready Educated Accomplished Leaders] Austin, the LSS housing support and mentoring network for youth aging out of foster care in Central Texas, began accepting applications in September and placing young adults in Supervised Independent Living (SIL) apartments in October.

There has been a flurry of moving activity recently, with seven new BeREAL residents – five young adults and two children. Two more are moving in December 19, for a total of nine by year’s end. Eventually, we anticipate serving around 30 youth each year.

About BeREAL Austin

BeREAL Austin helps foster youth transition to self-sufficiency and independence by providing Supervised Independent Living as they age out of care. Through a partnership with a national multi-family real estate company, LSS secured discounted apartments for participants in Austin.

Foster children have little control over decisions impacting their lives, then suddenly at age 18, they are treated as fully capable adults, with adult responsibilities and expectations. BeREAL Austin helps prepare them for this new role.

A grant from Grande Communications is helping fund the cost of utilities and household items. BeREAL is an important component of LSS’ continuum of care in our children’s programs, focusing on our mission to break the cycle of child abuse by empowering children, families and communities.

Our BeREAL Austin clients

Applicants for the program are initially screened by DFPS, and to be eligible must be foster youth between 18-21, who were in foster care on their 18th birthday. They must either be in school or working, or a combination of both, and all of our participants fit into these categories.

Meet our residents:

  • A 19-year-old mother, who has a one-year old daughter, attends classes at Austin Community College (ACC) and is working for an insurance company. She is studying criminal justice and plans to be a probation officer.
  • A 19-year-old mother, who has a one-year-old son, completed one year at ACC and plans to re-enroll this spring. She wants to study accounting and become a CPA.
  • An 18-year-old female, who works at the nearby HEB, has enrolled to start her first semester at ACC in January. She wants to be a social worker and help kids like herself.
  • A 20-year-old male completed one year at A&M-Corpus Christi and is now at ACC. His 18-year-old sister, another new resident, lives in the same complex in an adjacent building. She enrolled for her first semester at ACC and is looking for a job nearby.

For most of their lives, they’ve been placed apart. Now they get to see each other every day – to learn and support one another – as they figure life out. They also enjoy waving at each other from their balconies!

As each of these youth achieve their identified education and employment goals, they are expected to transition to unsupervised independent living.

cribBeREAL Unpacking

Can You Help BeREAL?

Yes! As we move in more residents, we always need gently used furniture (couches and dining tables), microwaves and other household items. View our online donation list  and contact Sarah Crocker at 512-813-9828 or by email [email protected].

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