Fostering Youth Independence receives nearly $8,000 in driver’s license grants

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Kathryn Barger, Supervisor of Los Angeles County Fifth District, City of Santa Clarita and Zonta Community and Arts Services donated nearly $8,000 to Fostering Youth Independence, (FYI) “Ready, Set, Drive!” program.

The program “On your marks, get set, drive!” was introduced to equip youth in foster care to successfully obtain their driver’s license by providing students with study sessions, payments for DMV license fees, and volunteers to accompany them to the DMV for written and driving tests.

Grants received for the program include $5,000 from Barger, $1,477 from the City of Santa Clarita Community Services and Arts Grant, and $1,500 from Zonta.

Barriers for youth in foster care to obtain their driver’s license often include obtaining parental or guardian permission needed to enroll in driver training or obtain a license, as well as inability to to pay the various costs associated with becoming a driver.

“The ability to drive is essential to independent adulthood,” said Carolyn Olsen,

Executive Director and Co-Founder of FYI. “Young people who have access to a car do better in school, get better jobs and have more housing options. It is difficult, if not impossible, for most young people in foster care to learn to drive and obtain a driver’s license while in foster care.

The program also provides foster youth with workshops on car insurance basics and assistance with obtaining policies when acquiring a car, including paying the deposit on a six-month policy.

“We are so grateful for the support we have recently received from LA County

Supervisor Kathryn Barger, City of Santa Clarita and Zonta,” Olsen said. “As a result, we are enjoying exciting successes, with 15 young people having participated in a pre-exam study session, six young people having received an instruction permit, six young people having received training behind the wheel and four young people obtaining their driver’s license. ”

To learn more about FYI or the “Ready, Set, Drive!” program, visit their website.

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