Earlier this year, when my father was in hospice care, one of our caregivers was an outstanding woman with a large heart named Mary Thomas. During this time, she also became a family friend. She shared with us a new nonprofit she recently formed to serve young adults who “time out” from the foster care system, but still need life and vocational direction and support.
Below is a short discussion with Mary. Please do read this and consider supporting this critical work serving Raleigh and Wake County.
STAN: Mary, can you tell me about this new non-profit you started?
MARY: Young Adult Development Services (YADS) provides a stable environment to enable our local “aged out” foster care population ages 18-24 to focus on personal development, higher education, mental health, as well as life and workforce skills. We enable our youth to thrive in our communities, not just survive!
STAN: Why did you decide to start this organization? What motivated you?
MARY: I decided to start this organization having gone through the devastating loss of both parents by the age of 11. I had to fend for myself at an early age of 16 and am no stranger to difficult circumstances like many other young adults that are placed in a situation beyond their control.
STAN: What challenges do young adults who age out of the foster system often face? How can your organization help them?
MARY: For youth who age out of foster care there is an increased rate of homelessness, unplanned pregnancy, incarceration and a less than 3% chance of attending college. Our Youth Program consists of housing formerly aged out foster youth for a period of two years as they work to become self-reliant citizens of the community.
STAN: What are ways that people can support this work?
MARY: There are many ways people can be a part of our work! They can support us by becoming a Host Family, joining our Sponsorship Programs, Donations, Transitional Homes, providing employment and Becoming a Board Member.
STAN: How can people learn more about Young Adult Development?
MARY: Please check out our website www.youngadultdsc.org. We can be emailed at [email protected] or called at (984) 833-8237. In addition connect with us on Facebook and Instrgram: Young Adult Development Services
STAN: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
MARY: Formerly aged out foster youth need and deserve a loving family, housing, education, employment, finances and other support. YADS is working to help communities fill those gaps.