How We Help
At-risk children come from many different situations: they may be homeless or living in a car with one of their parents; many were taken from their home because of abuse, neglect or abandonment and now live in foster care or group homes; several end up in emergency shelters because they have nowhere else to go.
When they turn 18-21 years old, a whole new set of challenges await them: they are solely responsible for their shelter and food; they need to arrange for their own transportation needs for work and/or school; they need to find a job with as many hours as they can get; they need to continue their education in order to go beyond minimum-wage jobs and become self-sufficient.
To this end, five years ago we’ve partnered with Children’s Home Society in Volusia County to create the WingsNet program which offers financial assistance and counseling to children who have “aged out of the system.” The goal of WingsNet is to encourage each youth to build a sense of self-reliance and independent skills. The program is designed to provide an incentive for the participants to succeed in school and reach their educational goals. It also provides a special needs fund for unanticipated situations that may arise that impedes a youths ability to succeed and for which no other funding is available. In January of 2013, we expanded WingsNet to Osceola County through our partnership with Impower. Our dream is to continue expanding, one county at a time, throughout Central Florida.
The funds we raise are focused on ensuring the continuation of programs and assistance needed for:
1. Transitioning young adults into independent living. When the youth reach age 18-21, the state considers them “aged out of the system” and they’re basically on their own. Statistics show that 33% of these youth will become homeless within three years. We want to provide educational assistance for these vulnerable young adults that will afford them opportunities to secure employment and provide them the ability to become self-sufficient.
2. Placing the children in residential homes when it’s not possible to return to their families or relatives. Residential care not only provides the children with a safe and secure family setting, but it also provides extensive one-on-one counseling and treatment for coping with their abuse. We’re committed to helping these children receive the help they need so they see hope in their future.
As of 2014, we have given nearly $1.5 Million Dollars to help these youth!