The JourneyUP Mentor Project (JUMP) provides young people formerly in foster care or facing homelessness with mentoring friendships, community support, and connections to resources to overcome barriers to success. At age 18, youth in foster care "age out" of state custody. Many have nowhere to go and no one to turn to for help. Without supportive relationships, they struggle with homelessness, legal issues, medical emergencies, personal care and poverty.
JUMP assists youth to develop life skills, accomplish goals, and find resources to become independent by providing access to adult mentors and to basic services such as housing, employment, educational opportunities, medical and dental, and mental health services.
The JourneyUP Mentor Project is a program of The Christmas Box International, the Utah-based nonprofit serving children, teens and young adults who are victims of abuse, neglect and homelessness. To learn more about all of The Christmas Box International's programs, click here.
The JourneyUP Mentor Project (JUMP) assists in building meaningful relationships for youth by matching them with a trained volunteer mentor to help them transition to independent living. These mentors build long lasting friendships with the youth, as well as helping them to access community resources.
Workshops and Activities:
Twice a month life skills workshops and activities are provided to help JUMP participants learn and practice skills basic to successful adult living. Some of these topics include finances and taxes, getting and keeping a job, finding and accessing community resources, healthy relationships, stress coping skills, etc.
Activities in the community are also provided to help youth with healthy recreational activities and to build relationships with their mentors and fellow program participants.
JUMP provides to each youth as they leave foster care access to simple but vital things they need to build a personal move-in kit to start their transition to adulthood. They can select items such as bedding, towels, pots and pans, dinnerware, eating and cooking utensils, a first aid kit, a tool kit, and more for their own move-in kit.
Annual Youth Leadership Summit:
JUMP partners with DCFS to provide an annual statewide youth summit in August aimed at preparing and assisting about 200 older youth in foster care to successfully transition to adult living. JUMP helps with workshops, supplies, prizes and snacks. JUMP also gives each youth a backpack filled with school supplies, hygiene items and art materials.
Summer and Winter Retreats:
Twice a year retreats are held which provide time for young adults, their mentors, program staff and volunteers to participate in and enjoy recreational activities to help build relationships and trust as well as a chance to teach social, team building and problem solving skills.
What is a mentor?
Mentors are positive role models, advisers, and supporters for youth who is transitioning to adult living. A mentor and youth (ages 16+) are matched in a one-to-one friendship that they help choose. They socialize and spend time together each month, usually about 6-8 hours. Mentors can help youth develop life skills and accomplish goals with the support of The Mentor Project services and activities.
WHAT DOES A MENTOR DO?
Mentors meet with a youth monthly for at least one year
Mentors laugh, play, and have new experiences
Mentors remember birthdays, celebrate successes, talk through problems, etc
Mentors are committed, positive role models
Mentors come to group activities and trainings
Mentors assist youth to overcome barriers to success
Keep an open mind
Mentors practice non-judgment and the respect of others’ values
Create a community
Mentors help youth find resources, meet new people, and expand their opportunities
Rely on support
Mentors access professional services from The Mentor Project
Through the JourneyUP Mentor Project or JUMP, we supply foster teens leaving state custody with move-in kits to help them as they take their first steps into the adult world. Many youth aging out of foster care may not be able to return home, and most choose to leave state custody when they turn 18 years old. According to national statistics, without reliable support systems these teens face a higher risk of homelessness, early pregnancy, incarceration and unemployment than their peers.
CBI started this program created specifically to support youth leaving foster care by providing an array of basic household items in a 30-gallon plastic container. From a first aid kit to a pillow and blanket to pots and pans, JUMP Kits are distributed across the state, each valued at $130.
In 2014, an estimated 130 teens will age out of foster care and transition into adult living. Using these JUMP Kits, this population will have a healthy start to furnishing their first home.
Division of Child & Family Services
Annually, CBI partners with The Division of Child & Family Services to support their Youth Leadership Summits throughout the state. Summits are provided for youth preparing to age out of foster care and give them the opportunity to learn skills they’ll need as they become adults.
At the Summit, youth also participate in a Youth Speak-Out where they are able to share their foster care experiences with each other, administration and lawmakers. Youth appreciate this opportunity to help promote change in the system.
Youth say that they feel empowered by being surrounded by other youth at the Summit who are just like them; they no longer feel alone.