Welcome to Angel Reach! Our goal is to break the generational cycle of abuse, neglect, and homelessness so that the lives of current and former foster youth can be enhanced.
Angel Reach has been dedicated to the continued development of programs that prevent homelessness for foster care alumni since 2004. The focus has been on three client types: 1) Kinship Program – children removed from neglect or abuse to live with a relative, 2) Aged-out Foster Youth Transitional Living Program – youth who aged-out of foster care that are homeless or at risk of being homeless, 3) Angel’s Nest – young mothers with a foster care history who struggle to keep their babies and provide for them in a safe and healthy environment.
Until just recently (November 9, 2015), the young people served were all no-income or low-income foster care affiliated or alumni of the system when entering the program. There is now a forth focus on the homeless youth population as a whole, not just foster care alumni. The Community Youth Outreach Resource Center serves age ranges from 18-24 year. This change was accomplished as a direct result of collaboration between several organizations sharing the same vision to end homelessness for the youth in their county, Montgomery County Youth Services, CASA Angel Reach, United Way, and Woodforest Bank
Vision in business requires that you clearly see where you choose to be in the future and create a plan for how your organization will get there. Creating and sustaining a vision for an organization calls for discipline and creativity (Lavinsky, 2013). The founders were able to recognize that this cause was greater than just Angel Reach. They began to develop relationships with other like minded organizations that shared her vision. As a result they were able to bring them all together for one collaborative effort to end youth homelessness in their county.
The Kinship Program
The Kinship Program was the first focus the founder’s vision at a time when they were foster mothers. More than 50 youth have called her mom through the years and continue to do so. As they networked with other foster families and kinship families they recognized a disparity among the kinship group. Those family members who stepped up to take on the responsibility of raising a relative’s child did not receive the same benefits that a foster care family received. This often created a burden on the kinship family. The founders set out to fill the void for kinship families who so desperately needed furniture and repairs to their homes in order to welcome their new family members to a warm and inviting place. They began to solicit the help of their church and local organizations to commit their support through monetary or gift-in-kind donations as well as the labor to get their homes in shape to take on this new responsibility. In addition, programs were created to supply food and clothing for these families as well as case management to assist them to secure the best possible care for their family.
Angel’s Nest is one of the newer programs offered by Angel Reach. It was born out of concern for those young mothers with a foster care background who became pregnant less than a year after aging-out of care. More than 70% of the babies born to those young mothers become part of the foster care system themselves. In addition to receiving the desperately needed food, clothing and equipment that it takes to raise a healthy baby, these young mothers are given a place to live in order to begin to build a solid foundation for their new family.
They are encouraged to complete their high school education, secure a job and even continue to go on to a trade school or obtain a college degree. Child care assistance is provided to keep these young mothers at ease about the care of their child while they are focusing on goals for a better life for them. Parenting classes are also part of this program to teach these young mothers how to raise healthy and happy children.
The organization is always looking for innovative ways to improve the lives of these children. The vision for Angel’s Nest is to break the generational cycle of abuse, neglect, and homelessness among pregnant and parenting foster youth alumni and their children by bringing the Angel’s Nest community together in ways that enhance their health and well-being and that of the community as a whole.
Foster Care Alumni Transitional Living Program
Angel Reach began its transitional living program for aged-out foster youth in 2011 as a result of a recognition of need. The first phase of the program simply allowed for a donated 3-bedroom house to become home to six homeless youth ages 18-21 for as long as they needed in order to secure a job and support themselves; the average youth stayed approximately six months. The program was run solely by volunteers; no one got paid because there was no source of revenue.
It was quickly realized that this was not enough and the organization began to expand services to include education and the ability to accomplish long-term goals for financial independence as well as building a healthy family unit. The organization was able to do so with the help of the local community businesses and people who believed in the vision. Angel Reach wants clients to do more than just survive, the organization wants clients to dream big and learn to work hard in order accomplish those dreams. Angel Reach has grown to offer those additional services to more than 250 youth with varying needs on a residential campus or as day clients who have their own housing.
The founders gathered up a team made up of mostly volunteers to assist youth participating in this program with transportation to and from job training, work and school, counseling and mentoring. Life skills classes, spiritual development and mentoring prepare these young people for a life that reaching beyond poverty and depressed to confident and empowered.
Community Youth Outreach Resource Center
This 6,000 square foot facility has been in the making since August of 2014. Prior to acquiring this building, each organization involved was developing the plan through regularly scheduled meetings that lead to services being provided through each organization’s home office space. All organizations worked hard to generate awareness and develop partnership with community leaders that eventually began to support the cause.
The Center offers a wide variety of services beginning with a focus on Maslow’s Hierarch of Needs. That is, when person’s basic needs are met, one is able to stabilize and obtain independence (Huitt, 2007). The Resource Center seeks to work with the community to provide these basic needs for its youth, with the belief that doing so will lead those youth to a life of purpose and success.