Equipping for Life - Life Skills for Systems-Impacted Youth
Equipping for Life equips system-impacted youth with the skills to empower independence - through education, life skills training, counseling, jobs, and housing. Funding from LA2050 will allow us to enhance our case management and life skills training to meet the needs of young people in foster care and those who are aging out of the child welfare system. Offered year around, these comprehensive supports help youth establish economic opportunity and self-sufficiency, allowing them to thrive as they launch into adulthood.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
Support for Foster and Systems-Impacted Youth
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
County of Los Angeles
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Expand existing project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
Of the more than 1.6 million youth/young adults in LA, there are an estimated 97,000 at risk of experiencing homelessness and another 5,700 are currently unsheltered according to LAHSA. Over 270,000 youth/young adults are growing up in poverty and over 400,000 will have experienced abuse or neglect. These statistics, along with the fact that LA County has one of the largest child welfare systems in the U.S. (over 30,000 children in need of safe home), makes us compelled to increase our capacity and services to reach more vulnerable youth. At the age of 18, teens transition out of foster care and are expected to live independently, but most are ill-prepared for life's daily challenges. Their chances of ending up incarcerated or experiencing homelessness are extremely high. Equipping for Life is Olive Crest's upstream solution to combat these statistics and negative outcomes, as we equip youth (12-24) with the needed skills and supports to become independent and thrive.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
Olive Crest seeks to change the narrative on foster and systems-impacted youth to provide pathways to brighter futures through Equipping for Life. Each year, nearly 400 youth and young adults are provided with safe homes along with the needed support and services, to help them re-write their stories giving them a chance to lead healthy, safe, and productive lives. To succeed in adult life, youth need to have basic educational, financial, and life skills such as, knowing how to cook, cleanliness and hygiene, self/ social-awareness, responsible decision making, budget balancing, maintaining healthy relationships, coping skills, a job and housing. Equipping for Life empowers youth to grow and reach their greatest potential, despite all the obstacles they have endured. The end goal is to prepare former foster and systems-impacted youth for independent living and help them leverage their strengths and resilience to overcome their challenges and be successful members of society.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
The pandemic, along with other societal issues, has increased stress, anxiety, and trauma for systems-impacted youth in LA. Studies show these youth are at a high risk for substance abuse, dropping out of school, becoming victims of human trafficking or experiencing homelessness. Our vision is that every foster and systems-impacted youth has an equal opportunity to succeed and live out their dreams. LA will look different because our youth will have access to education, jobs, counseling, safe homes and ultimately hope for a brighter future. With this grant and our proven model, we will accomplish continued success and growth of Equipping for Life. This commitment includes the launch of a capital campaign, which focuses on the expansion of Equipping for Life and our youth housing program in Southeast LA. It includes the opening of a new drop-in center that will be a critical connecting point for prevention and intervention services for vulnerable youth to forge life transformation.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
Equipping for Life has been an integral part of Olive Crests' services in LA for over 20 years. In 2022, Olive Crest's Quality of Service Survey demonstrated the high value of our services. We received a 4.4 of 5 score indicating youth felt their basic physical, emotional, and spiritual needs were met; 4.5 of 5 score indicating youth felt we encouraged and supported their educational success; 4.6 of 5 from our youth for overall quality of services. For young adults participating in our housing programs, 90% transitioned into stable housing upon exiting the program. Overall satisfaction shows that 91% of our youth would recommend Olive Crest. We measure impact through pre/post program assessments, individual treatment plans, interviews, and surveys. We utilize the CAFAS to assess day to day functioning and utilize ACEs assessment to measure adverse childhood experiences. This helps identify prevention strategies to reduce and to mitigate the effects of past trauma.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 395
Indirect Impact: 1,975