Teens and young adults who have aged out of the foster care system, have escaped from sex trafficking, or have become homeless with no family support face a brutal life. They are often left to the streets, open to the devastating possibilities of homelessness and addiction.
But there is hope for these teens, thanks to LiftUp Young Lives, Inc., a 501©3 organization in Melbourne. The educational and mentoring program launched in August 2018. Director, Lisa Soloway and the team of teachers and mentors guide and lead LiftUp with the Leadership Advisory Board. The program is in two semester to greater empower and impact the teens they serve. Both programs are 15 weeks/30 sessions. The LiftUp program introduces key concepts defining the 5 Pillars of Success: living skills, social skills, financial responsibility, leadership, and spiritual empowerment.
The sessions are held in a classroom environment that is vibrant, interactive and full of challenges to guide young people forward as they transition to adulthood. The program is hosted by Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on the corner of Babcock St. and Strawbridge Ave. with members of Holy Trinity and the community supporting LiftUp as volunteers and mentors to the students. Opportunities for fellowship and worship at Holy Trinity follow each meeting.
The gift for Semester 1 graduates is a computer and ultimately upon graduating from the program, the student earn a car to help them become independent.
The need to care for these young people who need adult guidance and someone who cares extends way beyond Brevard. “Many teens age out of foster care in every county of Florida,” Soloway said. “Many of them struggle to finish high school, much less have the adults they need in their life to encourage them to go to college.
“My husband, Pete, and I adopted our daughter, and fourth child, from foster care in Connecticut in 2002 at the age of 8,” Soloway said. “I could not imagine her being sent out on her own without any emotional and financial support at 18.
Contact: Lisa Soloway