For young adults exiting the foster-care system, the abrupt transition to become self-reliant can be particularly challenging.
That’s where Jeremiah’s Promise, founded by Kim Golter, steps in. The organization works with foster youth 17-24, offering guidance to build the skills and emotional support needed to thrive in society.
“They’re so overwhelmed because they come from a system that took care of all their needs to being on their own,” said Golter, the organization’s CEO. “It’s getting them ready to go from a system mentality to a real-world mentality.”
With this in mind, Golter said she’s been busy in the past year developing programs to meet the needs of emancipated youth.
The organization’s mentoring program connects foster youth who have aged out of the system with adult mentors who offer encouragement, life advice and guidance for those pursuing goals in higher education.
“You do life with them and in the process you’re mentoring them,” said Golter, noting that mentors serve as a dependable presence for emancipated youth in all facets of life. “The great part about mentoring is that it’s not an authoritative figure – it’s someone who is beside you.”
In addition, Golter has successfully established college workshops to introduce foster youth to the organization and educate them on the challenges of transitioning to a life on their own.
Topics range from practical to emotional guidance, she noted, delving into issues such as career guidance, coping with unresolved emotional issues and learning to create a network of support outside the foster system.
“It’s about how you move forward after a childhood of injustice,” said Golter, whose agency is currently partnering with the College of San Mateo and West Valley College to offer the workshops.
And therein lies Golter’s biggest challenge.
For many emancipated youth, learning to trust others and build confidence is perhaps the toughest transition of all after a lifetime of erecting walls for self-preservation, she said.
Golter added that the workshops often serve as a bridge to eventually pairing them with a mentor.
“Once they get to know us, they get comfortable meeting who we want them to meet,” Golter said. “It’s very important to build trust first.”
Golter said Jeremiah’s Promise is preparing to offer its unique work nationwide.
The organization, she noted, is in the process of offering the college workshops as a free Web-based series for foster youth throughout the United States. The online workshops, she added, are scheduled to launch sometime next year.Participants in Jeremiah’s Promise, left, benefit from the nonprofit organization’s assistance to emancipated foster youth who have aged out of the system.