The Central Kansas Dream Center continues offering help and hope to those hurting people who have fallen through the cracks of the system. And with that thought in mind plans have begun for a unit for young adults aging out of foster care, called the Dream Center Living Youth.
The DCLY plans to accept 25 former foster care youth ages 18-21 into the program, providing a safe home-like environment where they learn skills necessary for the successful transition to independent living. The unit will be located on the second floor at the old Roosevelt Junior High School which organizers hope to open at the end of March.
“The kids will be offered on-site mentors, cooking instruction, finance instruction and those kinds of programs,” said Kimberly Becker, director of the CKDC.
“Youth aging out of the foster care system with no support have a 70 percent chance of turning to drugs or homelessness or being involved in human trafficking,” said Becker. “Barton County ranks number one per capita for children in out of home placement in Kansas due to drugs and neglect.”
Becker has raised foster kids and saw the problems these children have. The purpose of the program is “healing from the past so they don’t continue with the cycle that prevents them from being successful in the community.
“So many are angry,” and this faith-based program will break the vicious cycle of these kids having their own children going into the system, she said. It is designed to help them heal from the things that put them in the system.
The youth will participate in 35 hours of training per week which can include going to school, college or employment. They will be provided with housing, utilities, meals, social activities and spiritual support, staying as long as they need the additional support.
To fund the program, the young adults will be asked to donate a portion of the state independent living stipend. It will also be funded through private donations and grant money.
Hope Randolph will assist Becker with the program.
The Dream Center continues with its whirlwind of programs for individuals in need. Along with the Life Giving Center, which provides transitional living for women in a state of homelessness, the six month discipleship program for those with life controlling issues has grown to having five men and five women in residence at no cost to them. That program began at the first of August.
In addition, there are plans for a Christian based coffee shop to open at the end of January to help fund the Dream Center. It will be located in the northeast part of the building and will provide a Christian environment, as well as outreach and social events.
The Soup Kitchen continues to provide meals and there are plans to open a Clothes Shopping with clothes, shoes and linens for free.
Donations can be made to Lasting Life Ministries.