Turning 18 is an incredible milestone in a young person’s life. However for many youth in foster care, it means they have to leave the system because they are simply too old to remain in care. With no family or home to turn to, youth emerging from foster care without support are proven to be at higher risk of becoming homeless, unemployed, incarcerated, victimized, unexpectedly pregnant, and on welfare.
First Place for Youth is a California nonprofit that helps youth in foster care build the skills they need to make a successful transition to self-sufficiency and responsible adulthood. The organization recently enlisted the help of many well-known actors and athletes to share their experiences of what if felt like to be 18. The campaign, called #WhenIWas18, seeks to raise awareness about the realities facing youth aging out of foster care.
Some of the NFL athletes featured in the video, including Tennessee Titans wide receiver Dorian Green-Beckham, spent time in foster care themselves. Other stars discuss how privileged they were to have family to support them as they grew into adulthood. Actors Danny Glover and Tony Goldwyn and Kansas City Chiefs players Alex Smith and Tamba Hali are just a few of the famous faces lending their voices to the cause.
Watch the #WhenIWas18 video below:
In 2014, KVC also launched a national campaign to support youth aging out of foster care. Our #NeverStopCaring initiative aims to transform a closed naval base in Pendleton County, West Va. into a specialized career college for youth aging out of foster care. If the proposal comes to fruition, the ensuing Sugar Grove College could become a new national model for how to help a vulnerable population while creating jobs in the region with an emphasis on employing military veterans.