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February 27th

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BeREAL | Upbring

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Navigating New Seasons: How BeREAL Helps Young Adults Pursue Their Dreams

For most of his life, Tristan craved stability. Bouncing between foster homes, he often felt lonely and struggled with depression. Growing up without a place to call home was tough, but Tristan found solace in discovering his passion—cooking. He dreamed of one day having a kitchen of his own where he could experiment with new flavors and create nutritious meals.

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Navigating New Seasons: How BeREAL Helps Young Adults Pursue Their Dreams

For most of his life, Tristan craved stability. Bouncing between foster homes, he often felt lonely and struggled with depression. Growing up without a place to call home was tough, but Tristan found solace in discovering his passion—cooking. He dreamed of one day having a kitchen of his own where he could experiment with new flavors and create nutritious meals.

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BeREAL: Layla’s Story

From as early as age three, Layla remembers being on her own. She was raised by a single mother who was addicted to drugs. Layla spent most of her childhood looking after her mom, feeding and taking care of herself and tending to the household responsibilities.

 

As Layla grew older, circumstances got even tougher. At thirteen, her mother became violent, and Layla left home to seek help from her best friend’s parents who then became her foster parents. She spent the next several years in their care until she graduated from high school.

 

Like all high schoolers who walk the graduation stage, Layla thought about her future and what she needed to do to succeed in life. While she had the love and encouragement of her foster family, Layla needed extra support to attend college and move into her own apartment.

 

Hope came to Layla when she was accepted into Upbring’s BeREAL program. Through the generosity of friends of Upbring, the apartments participants live in come fully furnished! The BeREAL program also pays for Layla’s rent and utilities while she studies anthropology at Texas State University. After being in the program for more than a year, she continues to work hard to achieve her goal of graduating from college. “I know that I wouldn’t have been able to come to college and succeed at college without all the assistance that BeREAL and everyone involved has given me,” Layla said.

 

Layla hopes that her story encourages others who age out of foster care to believe that college is an option for them. Now, with big dreams and a bright future on the horizon, Layla knows she can lead a much different life than she had as a child

 

To learn more about BeREAL and how you can make a difference in the lives of young adults like Layla, visit Upbring.org/BeREAL.

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How to Decorate on a Shoestring Budget

Leaving home and moving into their first apartment or house is an exciting time in a young adult’s life, but it also presents challenges. For example, how do you make your new place feel like home when your finances are stretched thin between rent, car insurance, groceries and other obligations that come with growing up?

 

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to transform your new digs. Ready to get started? Our staff put their heads together and came up with 8 creative ways to decorate on a shoestring budget that we think you’ll love!

 

1.  Shop Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

It might take time to find what you want, as well as a little planning to pick it up, but both websites are great places to find low-cost items that need a new home.

 

2.  Paint an accent wall.

Painting makes a huge impact, but it can also be expensive. Instead of painting your entire home, choose just one wall and get a paint that includes primer so you can finish the job in one coat. If you are renting, talk to the owner or property manager before you paint.

 

3.  Add rolling casters to an inexpensive bookshelf to create a rolling storage system.

You could even create a small, mobile kitchen island by adding a cutting board to the top and storing your cooking utensils on the shelves below in canisters from the dollar section.

 

4.  Stock up on frames when your local craft store has a big sale.

Then, fill them with artwork from last year’s wall calendar, your favorite magazines or the thrift store to create a gallery wall.

 

5.  Hang decorative blankets on a wooden ladder, or stack wooden crates for a creative bookshelf.

Both the ladder and crates serve as decor and storage in one.

 

6.  Get even more for your money with multi-purpose pieces.

For example, find an ottoman that doubles as a coffee table and storage space.

 

7.  Mirrors are an easy way to add light to a space and make it feel larger.

They’re also practical. Consider hanging an inexpensive, full-length mirror horizontally behind your sofa for an instantly stylish look.

 

8.  Create an easy place to hang coats, hats and bags with decorative Command hooks.

They’ll keep everything neat, and you won’t have to worry about fixing holes in your walls later.

 

Our mission at work

Many young adults who age out of foster care have no home, no family and nowhere to turn. Sadly, 20 percent will become instantly homeless, and only 50 percent will be gainfully employed by the age of 24.

Continuum of Care

 

Through our continuum of care, we surround children and young adults with services that meet their needs in five key areas.

 

The Upbring BeREAL program walks alongside these young men and women as they take their first steps toward independence.

 

From identifying their education and career goals to moving into that first place of their own – and decorating it on a shoestring budget – we give young adults the guidance and encouragement they need to succeed.

 

“I came to BeREAL with nothing but a trash bag that had my clothes in it. Two vans pulled up to help me move into my apartment, and they were full of furniture. I told my BeREAL caseworker this wasn’t my stuff, and with a big smile on her face, she said, ‘Yes, it is.’ I didn’t even know these people, but they wanted to help me. That was such a powerful moment for me.”  – JoAnna, BeREAL participant

 

Want to help?

If you want to support a young person like JoAnna on their journey to adulthood, consider making a donation (Select BeREAL in the “Designate Your Gift” drop-down menu) or volunteering your time and talent.

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9 Lessons I Learned About Results Based Leadership While at Upbring

More than 23,000 children will age out of the US foster care system every year. Many have no family, no home and nowhere to turn in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds:

  • After reaching the age of 18, 20% of the children who were in foster care will become instantly homeless.
  • Only 1 out of every 2 foster kids who age out of the system will have some form of gainful employment by the age of 24.
  • There is less than a 3% chance for children who have aged out of foster care to earn a college degree at any point in their life.

Statistics courtesy of the National Foster Youth Institute.

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What’s the Best Gift You Can Give a Young Person?

When you think back to your childhood, were there adults who helped you become the person you are today? Maybe it was a coach, a pastor or a family friend who invested in you by listening and encouraging you.

Simply by showing up, Upbring mentors help children and young adults write a new story, one where someone believes in them, laughs with them and chooses them.

“One of the best gifts you can give a young person is your time,” said Trevon, an Upbring BeREAL participant.

Become A Mentor

“When you’re in foster care, people constantly come and go from your life. BeREAL connected me with adults who are always there for me. I want to give back to the program as a mentor someday.”

Mentoring matters

Research shows that the support of adults makes a life-changing impact young people’s lives. According to MENTOR: National Mentoring Partnership, at-risk young adults who have mentors are:

  • 55% more likely to enroll in college
  • 78% more likely to volunteer regularly
  • 90% are interested in becoming a mentor
  • 130% more likely to hold leadership positions

Mentors can be especially important when it comes to education, one of Upbring’s five markers of every child’s well-being.

The Christian Science Monitor notes that if students feel supported by adults in school, it can reduce the likelihood of them dropping out by 25 percent.

Furthermore, youth with mentors have fewer unexcused absences from class than students without mentors, according to a study cited by youth.gov.

How can you help? (Hint: Become A Mentor)

Even with the growth of mentoring groups during the past two decades, an estimated 9 million at-risk U.S. children will turn 19 without that connection, reports MENTOR.

Mentors are an essential part of the work we do to end the cycle of child abuse. Your willingness to share your hobbies, talents, encouragement and time with our Texas children makes a tremendous impact on their lives.

If you are interested in mentoring and other volunteer opportunities, visit our Volunteer page or contact Amanda Angell, volunteer and stewardship coordinator, at [email protected] or 512-706-7856.

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Call Us 24/7

Call: 1-833-802-3678

Text: 512-222-8783

Email: [email protected]