For foster youth, the holidays can be a very somber time. Seeing families enjoying the season can be a painful reminder of the holiday celebrations they never had. Every year UFC offers several hundred foster youth a warm and welcoming environment to celebrate the festive season. We need your help to ensure that the youth in our programs receive something during this special time of year, just like the children in our own families. Yours may be the only gift they receive.
L.A. County is home to nearly 20,000 foster youth. Many foster youth experience as many as 10 or even more foster home placements while in the system. Not surprisingly, it is difficult for those individuals to develop meaningful relationships with others, especially adults. Painful experiences of abuse, neglect and abandonment left unaddressed, can cause youth to lose jobs, fail in school, and turn to drugs or other risky behaviors rather than problem-solving.
This project is an important part of an overall strategy aimed at providing foster youth with committed and consistent relationships. Many foster youth feel alienated and that no one genuinely cares for their welfare. When they learn that there are people that care for them, they can begin to look forward, instead of dwelling on the past. The annual holiday gift drive lets foster youth know that there is a community that cares.
UFC is committed to meeting the immediate and long-term needs of foster youth by providing the resources to offer an alternative to the dismal outcomes they face as they transition from care. Relationships with UFC staff serve as the source of consistent support which many foster youth lack in their lives, empowering the youth to advocate for themselves. UFC is not just weaving a safety net that rescues but creating a spring board that launches foster youth into a life filled with opportunity.