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Empowering Foster Youth with First Place and HopeWell Inc.

For more than two decades, First Place for Youth has been a pioneering force in providing extended care and support to foster youth during their critical transition to adulthood. While our roots lie in California, First Place aims to bridge gaps in the wider foster care system and make a meaningful difference in the lives of the 20,000+ young adults transitioning out of care across the nation. As the first organization to join the My First Place Network, Boston’s HopeWell, Inc. has been a key collaborator in offering My First Place™ programming to young adults outside of California since 2017.  

In Massachusetts alone, between 600-900 young people age out of foster care each year. This past year, in both the Greater Boston and Greater Springfield areas, HopeWell provided services and support to 41 young adults through My First Place™. With their own safe space, My First Place™ participants have the freedom to imagine positive futures and build a sense of possibility and community, all while focusing on their education and employment goals.  

“I fully appreciate having my own space, without negativity; that doesn’t feel suffocating, or judgmental. I love being in full control of myself and my personal wellbeing,” said one participant in an anonymous online survey, describing their experience with My First Place™.  

For both First Place and our dedicated partners at HopeWell, it’s crucial that these young adults receive the guidance and support that they need to navigate this transition successfully. One participant expressed how supported they felt thanks to their My First Place team, “I appreciate the weekly check-ins with my team, I like the consistency of someone checking in with me and making sure that I’m meeting goals, that there are updates within those goals and more.”   

Excitingly, our My First Place™ program continues to expand its reach, taking our work to the next level! In May, HopeWell received a $1.5 million grant from Liberty Mutual Insurance to open a three-unit apartment building in Brighton, Massachusetts that will provide a safe, stable foundation for young people transitioning out of the foster care system. The home is the first of two that will be purchased with the grant and will further expand the My First Place™ housing model. (Read more in the press release.)  

As we reflect on the journey that started in California 25 years ago, we are humbled by the progress and impact we have achieved, both within our organization and through the invaluable partnerships with HopeWell, Inc. and network partners in New York, Mississippi, and Ohio. However, our work is far from done. We remain committed to expanding our horizons and building a nationwide network of empowerment, where young individuals can overcome challenges and unlock their potential.  

Through innovation, data-driven strategies, and unwavering dedication, we can ensure that every young person in foster care receives the support they need to blossom into independent, empowered adults. Together, let’s pave the way for a future where every foster youth can dare to dream and achieve a future filled with endless possibilities.  

Learn more about our network partners and impact sites at: https://firstplaceforyouth.org/what-we-do/network-partner-services/ 

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