Stories

An Unfolding Direction

November 22

Independent Living. A divine commitment. A step further into ensuring our kids succeed. A mission that is > as a result.

AT A GLANCE

  • Post-graduation is a critical time for all kids, more so for those living outside of a traditional family support structure.
  • It’s a huge gap for foster kids to jump from living in care to living completely independently.
  • ACH is committed to our kids and their futures.
  • The Aftercare house, purchased for ACH by Susie and Garth Merrick, demonstrates that commitment by making the steps to success more manageable.
  • Each youth who moves in to the Aftercare house must do a walk-through and sign a lease. They are required to pay rent and adhere to certain guidelines.
  • Rent paid goes back into the operation costs of the house. The remainder is completely donor funded.

Years ago, nationwide, a foster child upon graduating from high school was abruptly dropped into adulthood. With no family support, frequently no place to live and few marketable job skills, the result was often understandably tragic. Amarillo Children’s Home began the Transitional Living Concepts (TLC) program in 2003, taking an initial step into combating this problem. TLC trains our high schoolers for adulthood and allows them to take gradual steps towards independence within close boundaries. We also began our donor funded Aftercare program to help our graduates be successful out on their own. In 2007, we opened a TLC home specifically geared toward preparing our older teens.

All along the way, we have recognized a problem: there is still a tremendous leap from TLC to living altogether independently, and we have longed to add another completely donor funded bridge between living in care and being an adult. Behind the scenes, we have been researching and planning. Rather than extend the time which our kids are dependent and under tight boundaries, we want to prepare kids for the future by offering independence with support and the opportunity to fail so they can learn and grow with a safety net.

The purchase of our inaugural Aftercare home by Susie and Garth Merrick this summer is the first visible step in this expanded direction. It was a God-send that a just-right home across from campus came up for sale. The kind lady selling the house had been involved with ACH – her grandfather had built the home and it was difficult for her to sell, but its new role as an Aftercare home added a sweetness, and she enjoyed helping get the home ready for our kids.

Amarillo Children’s Home is committed to our kids’ success beyond graduation and into their future. The Aftercare house provides an opportunity for us to continue to work out our mission statement in kids’ lives through the crucial years of post-graduation. Thank you for being a community of donors who recognize that sticking with a kid through these years will help them become healthier adults who will impact the world around them in positive ways. Thank you for being a part of the answer.

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