Life Launch - A Life Skills Program From Finally Family Homes
Life Launch is a unique life skills program from Finally Family Homes. We serve high school and college-aged youth who’ve experienced foster care and need extra support as they grow into contributing, successful members of the adult community.
Maybe you’re wondering, “What are life skills programs, and why does Finally Family Homes need one?” Life skills programs are a means to help young adults become successfully independent by equipping them with the tools needed to function in the adult world. Students learn self-care, money management, goal setting, and other “adulting” skills.
By providing our youth with the tools and connections to build and sustain holistic life success, we mitigate the risks for negative outcomes associated with the foster care experience such as homelessness, human trafficking, and prison.
How Our Life Skills Program Works
Life Launch leverages partnerships with local community leaders and subject matter experts to teach life skills, provide support for educational advancement, and nurture their holistic personal development.
Our life skills approach incorporates community-building exercises. At Finally Family Homes, we believe that healthy connections are essential to the holistic development and success of our youth. So, we have designed Life Launch as a safe space to learn, share, and be heard without judgment. We enlist tactics to get youth to engage with leadership and each other to build up a sense of belonging.
Providing Life Skills to Santa Clarita And Beyond
High School Youth
What's Included In A Life Skills Class
Each week we meet in a classroom environment, either on a high school or college campus. During the pandemic, we have been meeting online.
As students show up, we greet each one by name and check-in with them. We talk about a hot topic or open with an ice breaker. When we meet in person, we provide lunch to help combat the food insecurity for the youth we serve.
When it’s time to start, we introduce ourselves and our program. “Welcome to Life Launch! We are here to connect you to the tools and people that will help you get an edge on life and succeed. We believe everyone is valuable, worthy of respect, and capable of growth.”
Then we introduce our expert guest speaker, sharing their background and credibility to speak on the topic. We know from research that foster youth typically only pursue a very limited variety of career options, so we use this opportunity to increase interest and awareness in the speaker’s career.
We briefly interview each speaker about their journey asking:
- How did you come to do what you do today?
- What’s your least favorite part of the work you do?
- What’s your favorite part of your job?
Then the speaker shares on their topic, bringing in personal stories and asking questions, so it feels less like “class” and more like a conversation.
At the end of each workshop, youth are invited to ask the speaker questions. Then we do a drawing for a prize and announce next week’s topic before saying goodbye.
How We Built Our Life Skills Curriculum
We formed our life skills curriculum using Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. We cover 7 basic areas of life: achievement, mental health, finances, social skills, self-care, and personal safety.
Sounds a little dry doesn’t it? To make it more appealing to the young adults we serve, spice it up with a relevant take and fun titles. And of course, the unique take and personalized perspectives of our speaker help bring these basic skills to life.
Our guest speakers have included lawyers, entrepreneurs, a professional comedian, an ultra-long-distance athlete, an MFT, a pastor, and youth favorite, Finally Family Homes’ own current Chairman of the Board, VP of Economic and Workforce Development at the College of the Canyons, Jeffrey Forrest.
Our Life Skills Program Community Partners
Life Launch “blasted off” in the fall of 2019 and was hosted at Valencia Hills Community Church in Valencia, California. Every week started with a healthy, tasty dinner followed by life skills training from a professional.
In the winter of 2019, we opened up our life skills curriculum for adults from foster care
in partnership with the Guardian Scholars Program at LA Mission College in Sylmar, California.
In the fall of 2020, we started our life skills program for high school students in collaboration with the PAWS program at Golden Valley High School in Santa Clarita, California.
We are very grateful to collaborate with wonderful teams of people at each location and look forward to continuing these community partnerships going forward.
Would you like to get involved with our Life Launch program? Contact us about being a professional guest speaker or donate today to help our life skills program continue to grow and serve youth in need!