Easing the Transition: An Independent Living Skills Curriculum for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
Support NAU Occupational Therapy's Life Skills Course
In partnership with Foster Arizona Housing Project and the Institute for Translational Research Education at USF, the NAU Department of Occupational Therapy is launching a new program titled Occupational Therapy Easing the Transition: An Independent Living Skills Curriculum for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care.The three-month program designed and implemented by six NAU occupational therapy students aims to support youth transitioning out of the foster care system by offering life skills courses to facilitate increased independence. The youth participants will receive training and assistance with job skills, budgeting, coping skills, health management, meal preparation and cooking, executive function skills, grocery shopping, and community transportation and mobility. Your support can help cover some of the costs associated with running the program for up to 18 youth participants.
Building a new program as well as conducting fieldwork and research encourages current Occupational Therapy students and attracts new students.
"Participating in a research project such as this one was one of the aspects that drew me into Northern Arizona University’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate program. Specifically, developing an understanding of the research process, from designing a project to collecting data to disseminating that information was extremely important to me. By collaborating with Foster Arizona, we’ve been able to be hands on with this project, collaborating with the community partner from the beginning. These skills, plus those I will foster through the duration of the project will provide me with a strong foundation to become a practice scholar when I become a practitioner and continue to contribute to the body of literature surrounding the importance of occupational therapy."
- Brooke, Doctoral Candidate, class of 2022
Your gift also supports youth transitioning out of foster care in our local community.
NAU students are not the only beneficiaries of this new program. While NAU students gain practical skills through fieldwork, youth transitioning out of foster care build life skills. Although youth transitioning out of foster care may experience many of the same challenges as their peers when emerging into adulthood, they have the added pressure of becoming fully independent without the same preparation or family assistance their peers often receive resulting in further undue hardship. The National Foster Youth Institute reported in 2017 that as youth age out of the foster care system, 25% will suffer from PTSD, 20% will immediately become homeless, only 50% will have gainful employment, and only 3% will earn a college degree. Teaming up with Foster Arizona and implementing this life skills program offers NAU students the opportunity to help improve the participants' independent living skills and overall outcomes following their transition from foster care.