Two new agency expansions bring Hearts to Homes assistance to Putnam and Suffolk counties
Hearts to Homes is pleased to announce two new partnerships which are helping us expand our services geographically to more individuals in need!
NAFI New York is a multi-service agency that has provided programming and individualized support services to youth and families, since 2005, in a variety of settings across New York State. In this case, this partnership is the direct result of an expansion of services to Putnam County! NAFI’s core services include foster care, wraparound programming, and ground-breaking, evidence-based services for families in their homes and communities.
Family & Children’s Association (FCA) is a non-sectarian, not-for-profit that is dedicated to providing help and hope to Long Island’s most vulnerable children, families, seniors, and communities. We are pleased to be supporting young adults who are part of FCA’s Project Independence. This new partnership has led to the furnishing of our first home in Suffolk County!
We welcome NAFI and FCA as the 25th and 26th referring partner in our Hearts to Homes family.
SCO Family of Services Partners with Hearts to Homes to Assist Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
(Glen Cove, NY, February 4, 2021) SCO Family of Services, a leading provider of essential human services in communities throughout New York City and Long Island, has partnered with Hearts to Homes, a nonprofit that assists young adults who have aged out of foster care in their transition to independent living. Hearts to Homes provides household furnishings and furniture, alleviating some of the stress associated with the initial transition.
“SCO is grateful for this new partnership with Hearts to Homes that will outfit the first apartments of our young people who are transitioning to adulthood,” said Kimberly Thomas, Director of Education & Parent Support Services at SCO Family of Services. “These “virtual housewarmings” give our young people a sense of stability and pride from the start, and are a wonderful complement to the independent living supports SCO’s education, career, and housing specialists provide for our youth.”
Roughly 700 young adults age out of foster care each year in New York City and Westchester County. These young people, generally 18 to 21 years of age, face numerous challenges as they step out on their own. Hearts to Homes removes the financial burden of furnishing a first time apartment, paving the way for a successful transition and a productive life.
“SCO provides the young adults in their care with such tremendous support. We recognize that aging out is a tremendous life transition for youth in foster care. Hearts to Homes knows that the cost of furnishing a first apartment can be a daunting challenge for any young adult, but especially difficult for someone without family support. Hearts to Homes is pleased to provide that support to the young adults of SCO, recognizing the dignity of each individual, the power of choice and the increased stability that having a safe, furnished home can provide,” said Mary Theresa McCombe, Executive Director of Hearts to Homes.
As part of its recent expansion to partner with additional foster care agencies, Hearts to Homes will fund furniture and furnishings for approximately 15-20 young adults who are aging out of SCO’s foster care program in NYC.
SCO recipient Listardt Francis, who just recently exited foster care remarked, “I couldn’t say thank you enough. I am very grateful and I want to thank everyone involved with Hearts to Homes. Without your help, I would never have been able to buy all this furniture on my own.”
For over 50 years, SCO Family of Services’ Foster Care practice has been helping children and their families grow, heal and thrive. SCO finds safe, temporary families for children and teens throughout New York City and Long Island. In addition to family foster care, SCO provides therapeutic foster care for children with behavioral health challenges and group homes for older teens and young moms with babies. The ultimate goal of foster care is permanency, and SCO works to ensure that children are safely reunified with their family, placed in loving adoptive homes, or confidently set on the path to adulthood.
About SCO Family of Services SCO Family of Services helps New Yorkers build a strong foundation for the future. We get young children off to a good start, launch youth into adulthood, stabilize and strengthen families and unlock potential for children and adults with special needs. SCO has played a vital role delivering human services in communities throughout New York City and Long Island for 125 years. For more information, please visit www.sco.org.
Services Expanded to Include Rockland County
Hearts to Homes is happy to announce the expansion of services to young adults aging out of foster care in Rockland County. We look forward to working with Rockland County Department of Social Services to provide furnishings and furniture to Rockland youth in need. This follows recent expansions to Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Hearts to Homes’ Board Member Jeremiah Perez-Torres Op-Ed
We are pleased to share an Op-ED written by our H2H board member, Jeremiah Perez-Torres.
Hearts to Homes is expanding, and we wanted you to be the first to know! Young adults who are aging out of foster care in Nassau and Suffolk are now eligible for our services. Some of our existing partner agencies already work with foster youth in these counties, so the transition to helping young adults in these new geographic areas will be seamless! Without you, this expansion would not be possible. Thank you for your continued support. We hope you are as excited as we are by this news!
Speech by Tyneisha Fraser at the Open Hearts at Oceana Event March 23, 2022
Tyneisha Fraser is a social worker with Catholic Guardian Services. She has lived experience with Hearts to Homes as a young adult aging out of foster care herself. She has also referred eight young adults to us over the last few years in her role as a case planner in family foster care. Tyneisha brings a unique perspective, as both a recipient and a referring case planner. We thank her for her thoughtful words.
Good evening, everyone.
My name is Tyneisha Fraser. Today I will tell you about my journey growing up in foster care and my experience with the Hearts to Home Organization. My siblings and I were placed in foster care when I was 7 years old. At the age of thirteen years old, my mother passed away, which left me to grow up in foster care alone. During my teenage years, I struggled with my self-esteem, searching for love and affection from my teachers and peers. I also struggled with losing my birth mother and being separated from my siblings.
While enduring all my adversities in foster care, I used school as an outlet to distract me from my displaced life. I graduated from high school and was accepted into Manhattanville College, located in Purchase, NY. A lot of young adults go to college to party, meet new people and to plan for a career. I went to college to run away from my problems. I went to college to have a safe and stable placement to call my own. Once I graduated with my bachelor’s degree from Manhatanville College, it was time for me to transition to adulthood in my own apartment.
Moving into my apartment. I recall being concerned about a number of things. I wondered, how am I going to pay my rent monthly? How am I going to purchase furniture for my apartment? How am I going to cook without pots, cookware and kitchen utensils? Most young adults have house warming parties and their families and friends come together and buy them household items. I was a young adult who did not have any family or friends to help support me with this huge life altering transition.
When I moved into my apartment I did not invite anyone over because I felt uncomfortable. I did not have a bed, living room furniture and other essential items one needs to live comfortably. My apartment was empty!!! Hearts to Homes changed my life. This unique and amazing program provided me with everything I needed for my apartment, some of which I still use today. Hearts to Homes purchased my first queen-sized bed, provided me with pots, glassware and a comforter set with pillows, and a microwave. I remember inviting my friends and my family to my home for the first time and they were so impressed with my apartment. I felt confident and comfortable, allowing my family and friends to spend time and make memories with me in my new home.
As a case planner, I referred nine youth to the Hearts to Homes Program. I remembered how excited the adolescents and young adults were on my caseload when they were able to fill out their Hearts to Homes referral form. The young adults were so happy to choose the furniture and household items they wanted for their apartment. The young adults and adolescents in foster care do not have the opportunity to make decisions for their life. Hearts to Homes program provides the opportunity for young adults to choose what they want in their own apartments.
I remembered how excited the young adults were to know their items were mailed to the agency. Some of our young adults were nearly in tears when I told them I was delivering their items to their NYCHA apartment. As I helped the young adults bring all their items into their NYCHA apartment, I would assist the youth with unpacking their items such as, helping the young adults place their glass cups, plates, pots, and kitchen utensils in their kitchen cabinets. I would help the young adult with setting up their shower curtain in their bathroom. I would help the young adults with assembling their lamps for their living room, etc. As a case planner we go through so many different monuments with our young adults for years. Over time, our young adults build trust and relationships with their case planner. So, who better than a case planner to help transition our young adults into their apartments with their Hearts to Homes’ items?
In the future, I hope Hearts to Homes can expand the program to youth in foster care who do not have high school diplomas or a GED Certificate. Most of our youth in foster care do not have high school diplomas, GED Certificates or college degrees. Our young adults without degrees need this program as well.
I would like to conclude by saying, thank you to the Hearts to Homes program for supporting me and all the adolescents and young adults I have referred to the Hearts to Home program through Catholic Guardian Services. I am so grateful and appreciative and hope Hearts to Homes program continues to help more young adults with backgrounds that mirrors mine as they transition into adulthood and move into their own apartments. With all the trauma our young adults experienced, they deserve to have a comfortable, safe place to call their own. ACS and contracted foster care agencies assist young adults with obtaining their own apartments, but this amazing program extends their Hearts to allow our young adults to create a home. Thank You, and have a wonderful evening.
What a Year 2021 Was! A Peak Inside the Numbers!
100 apartments furnished over 365 days!
Assistance provided to youth aged 18 to 25. The average age of our young adults is 21 years old.
80% of apartments furnished were in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. We also provided furnishings to youth in Queens, Staten Island, Westchester, Orange and Broome Counties as well as one in New Jersey.
We provided furnishings to 25 women who were leaving foster care while pregnant or parenting. In many cases, Good + Foundation or Bundles of Joy provided several items needed for their child(ren). Synergistic partnerships are so important!
While 100% of our young adults have a high school diploma or GED, we assisted 11 youth who aged out after graduating college and 27 young adults who are college students. Education can be a vital steppingstone to success!
Over 50% of those who have been referred to us in the last several months desire some type of mentoring relationship. Recognizing this, Hearts to Homes’ volunteers are already actively at work referring youth to appropriate organizations where they can make this critical connection! Stay tuned to our social media for more about this important topic.
Unfortunately, too many young adults who are referred to us are unemployed (45%). Hearts to Homes will be analyzing this further to see if there are ways in which we can assist those looking for employment.
Hearts to Homes partners with Good Shepherd Services
Hearts to Homes is pleased to announce a partnership with Good Shepherd Services.
Originally founded in the 1940s as a home for young girls and women, Good Shepherd has grown into an organization with over 80 programs dedicated to meeting the needs of all New Yorkers who live in neighborhoods where inequitable education and scarce resources are pervasive.
Guided by social and racial justice, Good Shepherd Services partners and grows with communities so that all NYC children, youth and families succeed and thrive.
Hearts to Homes is proud to be one of these wonderful partnerships as we support Good Shepherd youth who are aging out of foster care. We welcome them as the 20th partner agency in our Hearts to Homes family.
Hearts to Homes partners with HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services
Hearts to Homes is pleased to announce a partnership with HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services. Founded in 1869 as a home for working boys, HeartShare St. Vincent’s is guided by the realization that New York City can be an amazing place to live where unbelievable opportunities exist. However, many children and families are not able to realize these opportunities. Just as they overcome one hurdle, they are immediately faced with another. HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services steps in where needed. Each and every day, they continue their mission of fighting for the overlooked youth of this city.
Hearts to Homes is proud to welcome this wonderful organization as the 19th partner agency in our Hearts to Homes family!
Hearts to Homes Partners with Seamen’s Society for Children and Families
Hearts to Homes is pleased to announce a partnership with Seamen’s Society for Children and Families. Founded 175 years ago, Seamen’s Society is dedicated to securing the safety and well-being of the children and families entrusted to their care. Their programs protect and care for the communities’ most vulnerable children, while strengthening families living with circumstances which can threaten a child’s safety and future. We welcome this wonderful organization as the 18th partner agency in our Hearts to Homes family!