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What is KEYS?

KidsPeace Empowering Youth to Succeed (KEYS) is a Life Skills Training and Education Program for youth transitioning from Foster Care to Independent Living. KEYS prepares youth to effectively implement learned skills by providing support through four different areas: Internships/Job Training, Individual Sessions, Flexible Funding, and Group Sessions. 

Through KEYS, KidsPeace Foster Care and Community Programs (FCCP) is committed to improve the appalling statistics for foster children who age out of the system:

  • Only 75% complete high school vs. 93% of the general population
  • 50% experience developmental delays that impede their adult accomplishments, which is 4 to 5 times higher than the general population
  • Only 10% of those foster kids who do graduate from high school enroll in college, and only 15 are college graduates
  • 40-50% are homeless within 18 months of emancipation
  • 50% of emancipated foster kids experience unemployment within 5 years of emancipation
  • 42% (60% of females) become parents within 30 months of leaving foster care
  • 25% are incarcerated within 24 months
  • Former foster children are twice as likely to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than US veterans
  • Nearly 50% of former foster youth suffer from chronic health conditions such as asthma, visual and auditory problems, dental decay, and malnutrition
Internships/Job Training:*
Youth are placed in internships that provide the opportunity to develop professional skills, explore career options, and gain experience that will help them become self-sufficient.

Individual Sessions:
One-on-one sessions assist youth with achieving their Independent Living goals by conducting an Ansell Casey life Skills Assessment. Based on the results, measurable objectives are developed to assist the youth with achieving their goals, which may include: job readiness, finding employment, retaining employment, daily living, social skills and exploring careers.

Flexible Funding:
Flexible funding is used to promote successful transition to adulthood for older youth. Based on the individual needs of youth KidsPeace uses money from fundraising events to provide additional services and support to youth. Examples of costs associated with flexible funds include but are not limited to security deposit for apartment, needed household items, rent payment, driver’s license fees, driving lessons, daycare for youth’s child so that the young parent can attend school and/orworkand tuition payment. 

Group Sessions:
The groups creatively teach our youth important life skills through practical interactive activities, games, discussions, and other innovative teaching methods. Several groups are held in the community to give hands-on experience to the youth. Many business professionals are invited as guest speakers to give training in their area of expertise. Our program model allows the participants to become actively involved in the learning process opposed to the traditional lecture form of teaching. Volunteers participate in KEYS Sessions as group mentors to give the youth additional support with learning important life skills during the sessions.

Each cycle of the KEYS Group Sessions include approximately 18 sessions. After each successful completion of a class, each youth receive $25.00 in hand, and $25.00 is put into a savings account.

KEYS offers 6 main areas of training:

  • Money Management 
  • Daily Living 
  • Self Improvement 
  • Healthy Living 
  • Education Planning 
  • Workforce Development

Topics covered include:

  • Banking
  • Budgeting
  • Household Cleaning
  • Meal Preparation
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Time Management
  • Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Conflict Resolution
  • STD Awareness
  • Identifying a Career
  • Developing a Resume
  • Employment Prep
  • Finding Employment
  • Goal Setting
  • Filing Taxes
  • Financial Choices
  • Transportation
  • Housing Options
  • Table Etiquette
  • Community Resources
  • Personal Hygiene & Care
  • Decision Making
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Recognizing Dating Violence
  • Anger Management
  • Health & Sexuality
  • Education Planning
  • Completing Applications
  • Preparing for interviews
  • Understanding Benefits
  • Job Etiquette
  • Understanding Legal Rights
  • Understanding Credit

For more information on the KEYS program, please contact KEYS Coordinator Jocelyn Kennedy by phone, 410-964-9329 or by email, jocelyn.kennedy@kidspeace.org.

 
   
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