The JourneyUp Story
As The Chrismtas Box International's newest program, the JourneyUP Mentor Project (JUMP) reaches out to help young adults 17 to 24 years of age who either age out of foster care because they’re unable to return to their homes and were never adopted, or who are homeless. After aging out or when these youth are facing homelessness, they may have little to no support in helping them incorporate healthy life choices. These youth face overwhelming challenges navigating the transition of adulthood, including struggle with healthy lifestyles, mental health issues, homelessness, unemployment, medical emergencies, legal issues, poverty, unexpected pregnancy and suicide.
The program got its start as a charity in 2008 as the Utah Youth Mentor Project, and since its inception was a community partner with The Christmas Box International (CBI). In 2014, administrative restructuring led to the charity being absorbed by CBI as a new program where it was rebranded as the JourneyUP Mentor Project.
With a volunteer adult mentor and access to life skills education, community support, and connections to resources to overcome barriers to success, JUMP is able to give these young adults a greater opportunity for success in adulthood. This program strives to provide its participants with the support of a community and long-lasting mentoring friendships, as well as offering life skills workshops and activities that may instill an active and healthy future such as rock climbing and yoga.
CBI assists in building meaningful relationships for youth by assisting with connecting them with a trained volunteer mentor to each of these youths. 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 these young adult learn and practice skills basic to successful adult living including areas like finances and taxes, getting and keeping a job, finding and accessing community resources, 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.
CBI 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:
CBI 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. CBI helps with workshops, supplies, prizes and snacks. CBI 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.