New Yorkers For Children established the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) in 2008 to create a support network of peers for the youth we serve. The YAB is a group of young people, ages 14-25, either currently or formerly in foster care, that come together every month to:
- Create community and provide support;
- Fight stigma and change public perception of the foster care system;
- Participate in a variety of workshops (ranging from financial literacy coaching, to basic life skills training, to personal branding, and more);
- and Advocate for change in areas that have the greatest impact on their transition into independent adulthood, such as improving and expanding access to affordable housing, finding a pathway to post-secondary opportunities, and securing financial resources.
The YAB has always had an unofficial peer-to-peer mentoring aspect, as they offer support to one another during the transition into college or independent adulthood. The group also informs NYFC staff and the public on the needs and concerns of youth in the child welfare system and helps shape public awareness and perceptions of youth involved in the child welfare.
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YAB PEER MENTORING PROGRAM
To formalize the mentoring and peer support aspect of the group that occurs organically, NYFC launched a YAB Peer Mentoring Program in 2019 that utilizes the strengths and knowledge of our veteran YAB members in the hopes of increasing college access and success among younger youth in foster care.
The YAB Peer Mentoring program follows a peer-to-peer mentoring model that pairs high school juniors, seniors, and underclassmen in college with upperclassmen and recent college graduates, using a structured evidence-based curriculum. NYFC’s partner in this initiative is an accredited Peer-to-Peer Training Program, NASPA, to provide participants with concrete trainings on life skills, soft skills, creating healthy relationships, and academic advice. Currently, NYFC has 10 youth who have gone through the program to become “Certified Peer Educators.
The YAB Peer Mentoring program will pair Mentees (high school juniors, high school seniors and newly enrolled college students) with Mentors; (Upperclassmen and recent college graduates) with the goals of:
- Providing guidance for youth in care or formerly in care needed to successfully enter and graduate from college; and
- Offering a unique opportunity to Youth Advisory Board members to gain leadership skills they can use in their life and future career.
Questions? Interested in checking out a meeting?