Safety Net InlandNW supports former foster youth in their critical post-foster care years. That means helping them with the resources to stay in school, receive job training, and handle minor financial emergencies when they have nowhere else to turn.
When Safety Net InlandNW embarked on this journey over 10 years ago our expectations were uncertain. We knew our mission was critical for our community as a whole. The more foster kids we could reach and help get a great start in independent living, the brighter our community would be.
Fortunately, since our inception we’ve gained momentum and enlisted more people in our region to be part of our movement. We’ve garnered a great amount of resources that are now available for the foster youth, and we have a caring community to thank for that. At the onset of this journey, our community was graduating one or two children a year from any of the local colleges. To us, that was a success – because in our view, simply helping one foster kid onto the road of success was considered a win. However, this last year and a half 18 foster children graduated! This is a tremendous number; one we are extremely proud of. But it’s only a number. As we continue to build resources and gain more community support, we’ll see more results. We can certainly assess these results by looking at the numbers, but we primarily focus on the one-by-one individual lives that we are impacting.
It’s important to note that the kids do not have to be in school to get our attention. Our aim is to help them reach whatever potential lives inside of them. Kids can succeed in life by taking many paths, and we’re here to steer them toward attaining whatever it is they want out of life. We are buying bikes for transportation for homeless foster children, loading up furniture for the ones that need something in their home.
Our overall impact is difficult to measure, but one thing is certain; these kids feel the love of the community that they previously couldn’t imagine existed. As we continue to provide them with both tangible and intangible support, we continue to build their self-esteem and help them to recognize their worth. And that is something that lasts a lifetime.
Safety Net is excited to announce, with the help of Pepper Smock, we have planted a North Idaho team. While this is a huge step forward in our goal of increasing our reaching, we still have more work to do. Our Idaho team is based in Coeur d’Alene and creating relationships with local and rural communities.
Safety Net is proud to be a founding member of the Network for At Risk Kids (NARK). NARK brings together leaders from local organizations who all have the common goal of helping foster involved kids in our community.