Workshops help with transitioning to independence
By Chris Fish
BREVARD -- After years spent in the foster care system, making the transition to independence can be a frightening and overwhelming thing.
As a way to help these young adults make this transition as smooth as possible, one local organization hosts regular workshops, covering a variety of topics.
The next workshop will focus on providing practical tips on how to find and buy a car on April 19.
Transitions, a new community-based program designed to help young adults transition from foster care to independence, will host "Tips on Finding and Buying a Car," on Friday, April 19, at noon at Dustin's Bar-B-Q in Melbourne. The workshop is part of a monthly series focusing on improving long-term quality of life for young adults in Brevard County.
Susan Stead, Transitions program director, said the workshop is part of a series of workshops, featuring useful information and tidbits for young people transitioning from foster care.
"The workshop series started this year and features local professionals from the community, who provided insight on a variety of practical topics," she said in an email. "We've coordinated workshops that provided helpful information and tips on how to find a good place to live and the renting process, the importance of knowing your legal responsibilities and how to reduce your chances of identity theft, as well as how to access helpful basic living, financial and emergency services within the community."
Ms. Stead said this series of workshops helps prepare young people for life experiences.
"Community-based programs, such as Transitions, are important because they can help ensure that these young adults make the appropriate community connections needed as they travel the road of independence," she said. "Young adults exiting foster care don't often have access to the level of crucial support and guidance that is typically available to those who come from more traditional and stable family and home environments. Transitions helps connect these young adults to the community resources that can help position them for a successful future."
The event is open to young adults between the ages of 18 and 23, who have recently transitioned from foster care. Seventeen-year-olds, who are currently in foster care, are also welcomed. Lunch will be provided.
Organizers said the event will feature two guest speakers from Community Credit Union of Florida: Deborah Blair, education program director, and Greg Giertych, indirect lending/auto scout.
The speakers will lead discussions about what one needs to know and have when preparing to buy a car, how to conduct an online search and how to apply for a loan.
After lunch, participants will meet at Harbor City Auto Sales, where owner Don Poussard Jr. will provide information about how to test drive a car, as well as how to perform basic automobile maintenance.
Organizers said transportation and gas card options are available for those interested in attending, and participants may bring their children if they are not able to arrange for child care.
For future workshops, Ms. Stead said the organization is planning events about fitness, health, cooking, nutrition and transportation.
Along with these workshops, the organization is also working to develop a mentor program, a furniture collection program and a program where young adults partake in local club functions.
Dustin's Bar-B-Q is located at 411 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne.