A Sense of Home is a growing non-profit whose goal is to change the lives of foster youth who have “aged out” of the foster care system by coming together as a community to create homes for them. Luvo is excited to partner with A Sense of Home to offer nutritious meals for these youth to help fuel their busy lives as they begin their careers, college or in some cases both. We sat down with co-founder Georgie Smith to learn a bit more about the great work they’re doing for foster youth in Los Angeles.
A Sense of Home (ASOH) serves Southern California foster youth as they “age out” of the system by rallying the greater community to help them create living situations that are conducive to work, study and life success. How did the idea to form ASOH transpire?
This video best captures how and why it began.
How many youth have you created homes for so far?
In our first year, 70 homes have been created in Los Angeles, affecting 110 young people so far.
What has surprised you the most about the process?
One thousand volunteers have shown up to create 70 homes. I have been astounded by the enthusiasm for volunteerism and the numerous ways in which they claim they have been changed by volunteering for ASOH. Most say it’s the best day of their life or a spiritual workout.
The ASOH experience, being so hands on in working shoulder to shoulder with whom the impact is intended, appears to have a powerful and positive impact on all involved. I hadn’t anticipated how much fun it would be and that absolutely everyone would revel in the creation of “home”. I had no idea ASOH would benefit the volunteers as well as the recipients.
Why do you think this is such an important point in someone’s life to step in to provide support?
In Los Angeles County alone, there are 35,000 youth in foster care right now. At age 18 or 21, state and federal support abruptly ends and the youth who aren’t adopted are ejected out of the foster system. Each year, nationally 35,000 exit the system without the typical self-sufficiency skills, the support of family, or any community networks to help them make a successful transition into adulthood.
Starting out on one’s own with any kind of support system is the most pivotal juncture in a youth’s life. ASOH intervenes when youth typically fall off the radar and move towards homelessness, incarceration, joblessness, mental health or substance abuse problems.
It is vital that all elements of our community show up to cheer these youth on to a successful path. Partners like Luvo not only reinforce how important nutritious food choices are, they reinforce the feeling of support from the broader community – that these youth matter, are valued and are no longer invisible.
How can people help or get involved?
The most important way folks can get involved right now is to support our crowd-funding campaign to create homes over the holidays and to help us grow in year 2 so that we can take ASOH to regions across the country (and eventually across the western world).