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Oakland non-profit organization helps foster youth aging out of system



Foster kids who age out of the system  have the cards stacked against them, getting left on their own once they turn 21.


One in four foster youth will experience homelessness within two years of aging out of foster care.  Only nine percent enroll in college and only five percent graduate.  Almost one in three prison inmates had experience in foster care.


But an Oakland nonprofit organization called Beyond Emancipation offers coaches and advisors to keep former foster youth on the right path.


23-year-old Jayde Clark is walking into a second home of sorts at Beyond Emancipation's Oakland facility.


"This is our drop-in center where you can hang out for the day, grab a snack, work on their computer,  whatever they would like to do," explained Beyond Emancipation Director of Development Julia Lakes.


The organization serves over 500 young people with housing, education and life skills.  

"We support young folks 14 to 26. We want to be that bridge and that support system," said Lakes.


There are 20 coaches on staff, including Zion, who became a career coach at BE after graduating from UC Berkeley.  


"To be a coach, you have to be in tune with your youth and understand you are an extension of their support -- whatever that looks like -- so you can be a pillar of support in all of those ways," said Zion. 


Clark has been a participant in Beyond Emancipation's programs since 2018.  After spending time at juvenile hall when she was younger, she says Beyond Emancipation and her coach have helped her become independent, resilient and a success story. 


On the day KPIX met her, she was meeting with her coach DW at the social services agency.  


"Doing our mental health check ins, supporting me through services, recommendations, referrals, and all around just truly helping me," said Clark. "I truly appreciate their services."


"A lot of youth comes to us entrusting us," said Zion. "One youth that I have right now just got a full-time job at a grocery store.  From living car to car for a long time and  now being able to have a space where they can go home and call that home."

DW told KPIX what her goals for Clark are. 


"Tending to whatever needs she may need. I'm just making sure she feels well rounded and comfortable in her own skin. To help them with life skills, help them with career goals, help them with education goals. I want to be part of their life just a little longer to see and be a part of their outcome."


Source: CBS News

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