After years of research, we are excited to narrow down our focus and find a true need in the Columbus area where our members can make a big impact. The Junior League of Columbus’ new Signature Project, Bridging the G.A.P. (Guide. Advocate. Provide.), supports youth aging out of the foster care system.
When kids in foster care turn 18, they are no longer part of the foster care system, and many find themselves living alone, without the support, resources, and guidance of a stable family or other caring adults in their lives. Each year in Ohio alone, close to 1,000 youth transition out of the foster care system. The Junior League of Columbus is working diligently to find ways to guide, advocate, and provide for our local youth in need.
Project Guide is still in the beginning stages but will aim to empower foster youth through the development of positive personal relationships and life skills. During the 2020-2021 league year, JLC will work to build out this project.
Project Advocate is starting this year with a new social media campaign, The Little Black Bag, to raise public awareness of foster care issues and raise funds for Project Provide. Project Advocate will also be further developed in 2020-2021 to possibly include training opportunities and legislative advocacy.
Through Project Provide, The Junior League of Columbus will provide 105 youth with household necessities to start their new life in their very own studio apartment. In the 2019-2020 league year, we are partnering with other local organizations, including Star House, on the Franklinton Housing Project or newly named the Carol Stewart Village. This $4.5 million project is converting two former motels into 105 studio apartments with a campus-like setting. The complex will primarily support youth ages 18-24 who are homeless or have aged out of the foster care system.
Each unit will have a bathroom, kitchenette, and at least one dedicated parking space. The campus will be designed to create a sense of community with front porches, indoor and outdoor community spaces, a community garden and a different theme in each building.