Connection makes a huge difference for Michigan’s most at-risk youth


There are plenty of studies that show kids in foster care spend longer in the juvenile justice system and are treated more harshly than other kids.

Alex spent over two years in that system in part because there wasn’t really any other place for him to go. At the conservative end, his experience probably cost the state almost 150 thousand dollars and at the end of that, Alex was still behind in school and needed help figuring out exactly to meet his goals, like going to college. Then he got connected to Paula Laquerre.

Laquerre works for the Berrien County Department of Human Services. She’s the county coordinator of a program called the Michigan Youth Opportunity Initiative, or MYOI.

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Why MYOI is important

For most of people, complete independence by age eighteen is a myth. Studies show that most young adults are financially dependent on their parents until their late 20’s. In addition, most young adults rely on their family for emotional support through out their life. Imagine if you were eighteen years old and had to independently navigate the world of adulthood including finding a place to live, paying bills, understanding banking and credit, understanding medical care and health insurance, trying to finish high school or learning the college application process. How would you have managed without the safety net of family or a supportive adult?

Based on recent data we know:

  • More than one in five will become homeless after age 18
  • Merely 58% will graduate high school by age 19 (compared to 87% nationally)
  • Fewer than 3% will earn a college degree by age 25 (compared to 28% nationally)
  • One in four will be incarcerated within two years of leaving the system.

iStock_000003423772XSmallFor many of our youth who are transitioning out of the foster care system, this could be their reality and that is why MYOI is so important. Please help join us in creating positive outcomes.

Read about the real life experiences, testimonials and written expressions of older youth from foster care all over Michingan in our Expressions Magazine. (include cover image)
Order your MYOI Expressions Magazine for a donation of $15.00 or more by filling out this form. http://dija.wufoo.com/forms/myoi-expressions-order-form/


Listen to MYOI’s Public Service Announcement: MYOI PSA, 2013



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