Skills 4 Life is a monthly life skills class taught to youth ages 14-21 who are in foster care. The classes include such topics as health and personal hygiene, how to find housing, obtaining a job, basic financial skills, vehicle maintenance, etc. Each month JLFS presents the assigned topic and may have speakers relevant to that topic present to the youth, and allow the youth to ask questions and learn more.
Independent City is a year-end event for Skills for Life students to celebrate and test what they have learned in their classes. Independent City is virtual game of life filled with fun and prizes. This one-day event provides foster teens with a fun way to learn about making smart life choices while getting hands-on experience with simulated life events, such as applying for a job, apartment hunting, buying a vehicle, grocery shopping, etc. They ultimately learn about choices available to them while in and out of the foster care system and how to prepare for independent adulthood.
The Junior League of Fort Smith Scholarship is a new project in which our members have already begun holding rummage sales and selling Krispy Kreme donuts to raise money to give foster teens much-needed financial support to attend college. Presently, the most that a foster youth can get from the State to attend college is $10,920 a year. Most foster youth who go to college must still get student loans to make ends meet. The Junior League of Fort Smith’s Scholarship aims to fill that gap for college-bound foster youth.
Fostering Connections serves the primary goal of addressing the disparity between number of children in foster care and the number of available homes for placement or adoption. This project 1) Connects current foster families with support and encouraged retention by giving them much-needed nights off and opportunities to complete training requirements with provided child-care, 2) Connects the community to the issue by raising awareness regarding the staggering lack of foster and adoptive families compared to the number of children in DHS care, and 3) Connects prospective families to the foster and adoptive care system by assisting Arkansas DHS in its recruitment of foster and adoptive families in our local district.