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“It was a natural fit,” said Abe Rubert-Schewel, an attorney for Legal Aid Society, who became a supportive adult to Timothy through HeartShare St. Vincent’s Permanency Pact Program. Timothy attends Queensborough Community College, where he is majoring in criminal justice. With that degree, Timothy dreams of pursuing a career in law enforcement, specifically with the FBI. With his interest in a legal career, Timothy’s match to Abe is a fitting one. “It means a lot to have someone to talk to about my college and career goals or to have a ‘big brother’ to root me on during a basketball game,” shared Timothy.
The Permanency Pact Program, which launched last year thanks to support from the Redlich Horowitz Foundation, created a formalized, facilitated process to connect our older teens and young adults with Supportive Adults who have pledged to offer lifelong friendship, professional guidance and emotional support. “Think about your child attending college—just because he or she is considered an adult doesn’t mean they don’t need your constant love and support,” Abe explained.
HSVS is deeply committed to giving our youth in foster care everything they need to become successful adults. This commitment means replicating the critical resources, supports and opportunities many non-foster care teenagers enjoy, which many of them find through relationships with responsible, supportive adults. Participating youth and supportive adults attend social mixers, participate in one-on-one counseling, and engage in workshops about communication, trust, building relationships, and responding to trauma.
For all children and teens, daily opportunities for safe play are crucial. However, they are often unavailable to many of our city’s youth. This is especially true in neighborhoods damaged by Hurricane Sandy, where many play spaces were wiped out, and participants in our Carey Gardens and O’Dwyer Gardens Cornerstone Programs in Coney Island, Brooklyn were among some of the neighborhood kids hit hardest.