The Hope Center

By on Aug 16, 2023 in Giving

Yardi is committed to supporting the community in every city where our offices are housed. Each year, the company distributes philanthropic aid to organizations selected by its employees.

Today we introduce you to The Hope Center at Pullen (HCP), of Raleigh, North Carolina, established in 2009. It empowers current and former foster youth with comprehensive programs to help them achieve self-sufficiency. Most people understand that foster youth are traumatized by experiences before foster care, but many do not realize that entering foster care is also traumatizing. Children are taken from the only family they’ve ever known to live with strangers, creating new fear and uncertainty as they navigate a completely foreign environment. Many are also re-traumatized by neglect, poverty, abrupt changes in caregivers and schools, lost relationships and unrealized academic potential while in foster care.

“Our youth’s traumatic histories combined with lack of family support, savings, and affordable housing make it very difficult to find and maintain housing,” said Brittney Sherley, director of development and communications for HCP.

The Hope Center’s statistics underline the risk for foster youth:

  • Within 18 months of leaving foster care, 40-50 percent of foster youth become homeless.
  • 65 percent of youth leaving foster care need immediate housing.

“We focus on housing, education, and employment, as well as mental and physical health, personal growth, and overall well-being,” said Sherley.

HCP’s primary programs are Teen Programs and the Transition Program. Any teen in foster care over 13 living in Wake County or foster care through Wake County is eligible to participate in the HCP’s Teen Programs.

“We incorporate trauma-informed practices in teaching life skills, so teens are ready for a successful transition to adulthood,” Sherley says.

The Hope Center collaborates with Wake County Human Services to offer life-building services with:

LINKS Academy: LINKS Academy nights to help foster teens develop the life skills they need to succeed. Programming focuses on preparing to enter the workforce, college readiness, mental and physical health, financial management and more.

Internships: connects foster youth with individually tailored paid internships designed to spark an interest in long-term career goals that will motivate them to finish high school.

Academic Mentoring: Match teens struggling academically and/or at risk of dropping out of high school with academic mentors. They meet weekly to help the youth overcome gaps in their educations and envision futures for themselves that motivates them to stay in school.

“Our work continues in our Transition Program by providing wrap-around case management services to many of the same youth when they age out of foster care. 70% of the youth currently working with us in our Transition Program were in our Teen Programs,” shares Sherley.

HCP’s Transition Program operates on a Housing First model providing trauma-informed care to help former youth and their young children achieve and maintain safe and stable housing. HCP aims to acquire more affordable housing partners to house more young adults to grow more programs.

Funding from Yardi has provided direct support to the HCP’s programs so they can work to help youth and young adults forge a positive path during and after foster care. There are many working parts to the programs. Stable housing means more than just a place to live. Stable housing means maintaining employment, mental health and the skills needed to be independent. Funding from Yardi allows the center to focus on each client and tailor services to suit their personal growth.

“Support from Yardi brings joy to our team and lets us know that the community shares our passion for our work. We are so thankful for Yardi’s generosity and commitment to helping foster teens and former foster youth get on the path towards a safe and stable future,” stated Sherley.

Growing from Guidance

The following success story comes from a client of The Hope Center at Pullen, a perfect example of their work and mission fulfilled.

K.D. was in foster care, becoming homeless for almost seven years.

“From the outside looking in, being in foster care might look easy because you have somewhere to stay, but really, inside, it feels like no one is there to love you, care about you, encourage you and really be there for you,” said K.D.

Outgrowing that environment of human trafficking, K.D. connected with The Hope Center. They were put in a safe and stable place to stay, allowing them to fulfill themselves instead of looking outward for toxic and harmful relationships. K.D. now has somewhere to be safe after work and school, allowing them to focus on goals and growth.

“The Hope Center is more of a family to me than my family ever was. The biggest change is that I am now the person I dreamed I could be. I talk differently, walk differently, think differently, and represent myself in a way that makes me proud of myself,” K.D. shares.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Hope Center at Pullen relies on volunteers to supply Welcome Home Kits for clients moving into their first apartment. These clients typically do not have the things needed to start their life in their new home. Individuals, groups and businesses can hold drives to collect, arrange and deliver these typical items for young adults when they move into their new homes—email [email protected] for more information and other ways you can be involved.

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