Circle of Women Breakfast
Encircling Young Adults with Needed Support
On September 16, nearly 450 friends came together for the YWCA’s Circle of Women breakfast, filling the grand ballroom of the Marriott at Key Center and encircling young women and men in YWCA Greater Cleveland’s NIA (Nurturing Independence and Aspirations) program with caring support. Since its inception, the annual Circle of Women breakfast has raised more than $500,000 to support NIA – support that will have direct and positive impact on the lives of young adults transitioning to self-sufficiency.
Attendees heard the from-the-heart story of a young woman currently living in YWCA’s Independence Place (a 23-unit permanent supportive housing complex), who provided a glimpse of homeless life for young adults. The morning’s keynote address was passionately delivered by formerCuyahogaCountyfoster child Gabriel Hart, an assignment editor at WEWS Channel 5 and tireless advocate for foster care youth. Gabby shared her story of living in 24 different foster homes before aging out of the system and attaining self-sufficiency, moving many to tears and motivating people across the ballroom to show their support by making on-the-spot donations to the program.
If you were unable to join us in celebrating our Circle of Women program, please consider making an online donation.
To view photos from the event, visit us on Facebook at Circle of Women photos. (Note: You can use this link to view/share this photo album, even if you don't have a Facebook account.)
Each year inCuyahogaCounty, nearly 200 youth age out of foster care after their 18th birthday. The obstacles they face are considerable. Studies conducted nationally show that within 4 years of emancipation, 25% of these young people have been homeless; 60% have become unmarried parents; fewer than 20% are able to support themselves; 25% report encounters with the legal system; 56% have not graduated from high school; 64% have earnings below poverty level; and 51% are dependent on income assistance through government programs.
The YWCA has responded to the special needs of these young adults with the NIA program--Nurturing Independence and Aspirations – a Trauma-Informed System of Care model focused on permanence, education,employment, housing, physical and mental health, and personal and community engagement for youth 14 to 24 years of age. Under the guidance of a Life Coach, NIA participants pursue educational opportunities, focus on career development, learn the importance of health care, and develop life and parenting skills.
The statistics are startling:
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