Do you remember your first car? Was it a brand-new make and model that was the envy of everyone, or was it four wheels and a tiny engine that got you back and forth?

Do you remember your first apartment or house? Did you make it a private place of refuge, or did you leave the door open for friends and family? Perhaps you did both.

How did your first car or apartment make you feel? What other parts of your life were made possible because of them? Whether your first car and home were products of fortunate circumstance or struggle and hard work, they had big impacts.

Foster Success is the only statewide nonprofit organization supporting young adults (14–26-year-olds) transitioning out of the state’s foster care system.  Foster Success provides support through programs and resources that allow young adults to be educated, housed, financially stable, employed, and connected to a support system by their 26th birthday. We started FriendsGiving during the holiday season to raise awareness of the struggles young people leaving foster care face when it comes to achieving those same milestones of a car and home.

Reliable transportation means the ability to go to work and school, to see friends and extended family. A safe and stable home means the ability to rest fully and plan for the future. But self-sufficiency can take years to build, and always involves having a strong support system. That’s why our programs are designed to provide skills and support to move teens and young adults aging out of foster care to self-sufficiency.

There are multiple ways to get involved in FriendsGiving. In addition to donating money toward our goal of 25 new cars or apartments to Hoosiers who have experienced foster care, you can help put together a package of starter items for their new home or car. Our young people need items including gas gift cards and ice scrapers for their cars and cleaning products and kitchen utensils for their homes. You can visit our website at www.fostersuccess.org/donate to learn more.

As a community, we should all be supporting Indiana teens and young adults who are exiting the foster care system in their journey to become self-sufficient and active community members. Think of what could be possible if every Hoosier who has spent time in foster care received meaningful, long-term support (financial and otherwise) to ensure they could reach their full potential.

Dr. Maggie Stevens is the CEO & President of Foster Success, an Indiana-based nonprofit that provides financial, educational, and social support to foster care youth at a most critical time – when they are about to or have already transitioned out of the foster care system, most often with no family or economic support.

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