Independent Living Skills Program
The Independent Living Skills (ILS) Program helps foster youth, ages 15-23, successfully transition from state-supported care to independent living. Education, resources, and advocacy focused on housing, education and employment, empower program participants to define and achieve goals. Financial assistance is available for participants 18 and older.
With the right support, foster youth can move into their first apartment or shared-living space. We help with budgeting, gaining access to classes and information, gathering necessary home furnishings, understanding lease agreements, and other basics needed to get started. Our group education sessions focus on independent living and social skills, including career planning, work, daily living, and study skills, communication, self-care, housing and money management, and building positive social relationships.
We encourage youth to complete and continue educational endeavors through collaboration with local school districts, colleges, and educational advocacy and workforce programs. We also assist with accessing financial aid, scholarships, and grants. With support from YWCA, youth can move forward with a GED, college degree, or trade school certificate in hand.
ILS also helps youth prepare for job hunting through mock interviewing, job shadowing, resume and cover letter writing, and exploring community resources. We offer practical workforce training opportunities, one-on-one advocacy regarding job placement and resulting in an individualized employment plan. Our community resource room provides computers and Internet for youth to do their own research, preparation, and homework, and also offers general information on employment, education, and health resources in our community.
ILS offers support in education, resources, and advocacy in order to empower program participants to define and achieve goals.
LGBTQ youth face additional hardships when it comes to finding placement and support. ILS is dedicated to making sure that all of our program participants feel welcome and accepted just as they are. Some of the ways that ILS shows its inclusion is by referring to youth by their chosen name and pronouns, connecting youth to LGBTQ resources in the community and providing youth with inclusive, evidence-based sex education. ILS also has a club room and it is clearly labeled as a safe space.
For additional information, contact the ILS program at ILS@ywcaclarkcounty.org.