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Helping Young People Aging out of Foster Care

The Hope Center at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church

Pullen Memorial Baptist Church
Raleigh, NC

The Hope Center at Pullen is mobilized around one compelling mission: helping young men and women in Wake County, North Carolina who will soon age out of the foster care system find success in life. We are committed to providing these young men and women with the tools they need for a successful transition into adulthood by connecting them with jobs, education, mentors, independent living skills and a deep, individualized support network.  We are the only nonprofit organization solely dedicated to serving the needs of this population in Wake County.

Founded in 2008 and becoming an independent nonprofit in 2009, The Hope Center at Pullen initially began work serving the homeless population in Raleigh as a “back door” ministry at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. As we worked to fulfill our mission, it became clear that there was a huge void in the service system in this area, and that young men and women aging out of foster care were a particularly vulnerable population.   

Approximately 30-40 young people age out of foster care in Wake County, North Carolina each year and more likely than not, these young people end up homeless. Recent data shows that almost 40 percent of homeless adults have a history in foster care. The implications for society, and for these young men and women, are enormous. Young people aging out of foster care are far less likely to finish high school and pursue secondary education, more likely to be arrested, and more likely to end up as teenage parents. In recent years, the number of young people aging out of foster care in Wake County has almost doubled, putting enormous pressure on public services to help these youth.  

This is where our work begins. The Hope Center helps foster care youth by teaching independent living skills, providing job-readiness training and access to further education, helping find appropriate and safe housing, and teaching the financial management tools necessary to become independent adults. 

The needs of this vulnerable population are quite varied, and our work with these youth is unique in that we provide an enormous amount of one-on-one support and help each young person develop their own plan based on their individual strengths and barriers. Our case managers work with and are in contact with each young person at least once a week, if not more, so that we can be a consistent, stable support for these youth in transition. Volunteer mentors also provide a special, one-on-one relationship with these young men and women. These relationships are absolutely essential to these foster youth.

Our work wouldn’t be possible without the continued support from Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, as members are always donating their time, efforts, creativity, furniture, and apartment supplies, as well as providing financial support to help us make sure these young people transition into adulthood successfully and don’t end up on the streets. In 2013 The Hope Center served a total of 30 foster youth, and we helped these young men and women achieve the following:

  • 27 individuals secured employment
  • 28 individuals secured or maintained safe and stable housing
  • 8 individuals enrolled in a GED program
  • 19 individuals enrolled in post-secondary education
  • 13 individuals reported a stable, supportive relationship with an adult mentor

In 2014, we are now serving 37 foster youth. We couldn’t be more proud of the accomplishments of the young men and women we support.

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