Did you know that one in five children who age out of foster care become homeless before their 19th birthday? Does it surprise you to learn that 25% become incarcerated within their first year of adulthood?
Impact Living Services (ILS) was started in 2012 by Paul Tesi, a businessman and entrepreneur who has a passion for children and teens in foster care. Having previously worked in a group home, Paul had watched over and over again how the 17- and 18-year-olds that were aging out of foster care weren’t succeeding despite traditional methods of assistance and support, so he decided he wanted to do something to change these outcomes and statistics.
First started in Lynchburg, Impact assits those aging out of foster care to live independently while providing them with personal resources and support to help them stay on track towards pursuing higher education or a full-time job. Through the program, young adults are provided housing and grocery stipends, and they live in the same neighborhood as a case worker who builds a personal relationship with them by checking on them each day.
By the time they turn 21, the participants have been able to practice with guidance how to be a “successful” adult. The program which has grown to have locations in Roanoke, Harrisonburg, Richmond, Fairfax, Fredericksburg and Virginia Beach has had over 100 youth participate.
Maria Rolf, Impact Living Service’s Mission Advancement Officer shared the story of one young man who went through the Impact Living Services Program: “Because he had minimal expenses during the time, he was able to work full time and save enough money to have a downpayment for a home. He was the first person in his family to own his own home.”
In addition to the living services that they provide to foster teens, Impact also operates a counseling practice with offices across the commonwealth, and some of ILS’s therapists have been specially equipped to work with teens and children who have been victims of trauma that has led to problematic behavior.
Centra has been able to partner with Impact Living Services in a variety of ways over the years as they work to dynamically alter outcomes for at-risk children and their families by delivering services designed to increase resiliency and strengthen relationships.
Traditional grants provided by Centra have made programs like Impact’s free counseling program for first responders possible while event sponsorships allow Impact Living Services to share the stories of their work with others. Over the last three years, Caregivers at Centra’s Heart and Vascular Institute (HVI) have also consistently fulfilled the holiday wish lists of young adults in ILS’s independent living program with a commitment to fulfill 20 wish lists this year!
It is evident that Impact Living Services is doing just that–making an impact! To learn more about their work, click here!