Fostering Youth Independence Celebrates 5th Anniversary

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The Santa Clarita Fostering Youth Independence (FYI) association celebrates its fifth anniversary this year.

“Looking through the photos taken over the past 5 years, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone who has made FYI the life-changing community it is today,” said Carolyn Olsen, Executive Director and co-founder.

FYI began in early 2017 with the question of how to engage the Santa Clarita community to address the urgent and unmet needs of young people coming out of the foster care system.

Olsen and two other co-founders met Dora Lozano of Foster Youth Liaison at College of the Canyons and were mentored by Don Wells and Diane Cox of Just in Time for Foster Youth in San Diego.

The team also met with the Santa Clarita DCFS office and Tess Cozine for legal assistance who filed articles of incorporation and drafted pro bono bylaws, according to FYI officials.

“I can honestly say that we never imagined the outpouring of support we will receive. Every time we asked for help, the community responded as needed,” Olsen said.

Christ Lutheran Church donated office space, Real Life Church financially supported the nonprofit, and the City of Santa Clarita funded our Case Management and The Study Place programs.

“A local couple bought a property to house 4 of our young people at an affordable rent. Individuals and churches have donated backpacks and gym bags, bicycles and cars, sleeping bags and camping supplies, hygiene items and school supplies,” Olsen recounted. “You answered our calls for financial support and gave generously so that we could meet the needs of young people.

FYI has been able to provide 117 current and former young adoptees with the guidance they need and deserve! As a result:

  • 3 youth graduated with a bachelor’s degree, 13 graduated with an associate’s degree, 4 completed business programs, and 17 graduated from high school.
  • 74 young people have received financial aid thanks to the help of FYI.
  • 67 young people enrolled in university with the help of FYI.
  • 41 young people obtained stable housing with the help of FYI.

This year, FYI is expected to celebrate 18 graduations. Six youths are expected to graduate from high school, five earn associate degrees, six earn bachelor’s degrees and one complete his combined teacher/master’s degree program.

To learn more about FYI, click here.

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