Preparing Foster Youth for Adulting
Episode 062: Interview with Christina Dronen from Finally Family Homes (Valencia, CA)

Episode 062: Interview with Christina Dronen from Finally Family Homes (Valencia, CA)

September 22, 2022

In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Christina Dronen, Executive Director of Finally Family Homes in Valencia, California. We discussed their newest initiative, which is a "build to own" program in which youth aging out of care help build and then own their own tiny home on wheels. Christina explained how this model will enable youth to acquire equity in their own home quickly, which they can leverage when they are ready to move into a larger house. We also discussed their existing programs, including life skills workshops, a host home program, and providing money and material needs to youth in the area who need assistance. 

Episode 061: Interview with Lisa Peat from The Taylor House (Roseville, CA)

Episode 061: Interview with Lisa Peat from The Taylor House (Roseville, CA)

September 8, 2022

In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Lisa Peat, Founder and Executive Director of The Taylor House in Roseville, California. We discussed their safe transition home for young ladies aging out of foster care. Lisa discussed the five key pillars that provide the structure of their program: employment, education, transportation, health and wellness, and budgeting and banking. We also discussed the importance of earlier intervention and family support as a way to improve the foster care system. 

Episode 060: Interview with Colby Swettberg with Silver Lining Mentoring (Boston, MA)

Episode 060: Interview with Colby Swettberg with Silver Lining Mentoring (Boston, MA)

August 19, 2022

In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Colby Swettberg, CEO of Silver Lining Mentoring in Boston, MA. We discussed their award winning mentoring program for youth aging out of care. Colby reviewed their mentoring program, including an overview of their mentor training program, the qualities of effective mentors, their life skills program, and the critical importance of connections for youth. Colby also shared about the Silver Lining Institute, which provides consulting and guidance to other organizations building or expanding their own mentoring programs. 

Episode 059: Interview with Britt Wade with Family Harvest Farm (Martinez, CA)

Episode 059: Interview with Britt Wade with Family Harvest Farm (Martinez, CA)

August 1, 2022

In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Britt Wade, Workforce Development Coordinator with Family Harvest Farm in Martinez, CA. We discussed their urban farm, which is a program under the umbrella of the John Muir Land Trust. At their farm, they employ youth aging out of foster care and teach them about sustainable farming. In their program, they build supportive relationships and help the youth derive meaning from their work by giving the food they grow to the local community. We also discussed ideas for the foster care system to help ensure that youth aging out of care are successful.

Episode 058: Interview with Lauren Vazquez with Valley Youth House (Bethlehem, PA)

Episode 058: Interview with Lauren Vazquez with Valley Youth House (Bethlehem, PA)

July 18, 2022

In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Lauren Vazquez, Supervisor of the Adolescents Achieving Independence (AAI) program at Valley Youth House in Bethlehem, PA. We discussed AAI and the strategies they use as they serve as "adulting coaches" for foster youth and former foster youth between the ages of 14 to 23 years old. They focus their support in the domains of education, employment, housing, life skills, and permanency (relationships). We also discussed ideas for improving support for youth, including a year of transitional living in their senior year of high school and finding more foster parents willing to provide homes for older teens in foster care.

 
 
Episode 057: Interview with The Buckeye Ranch (Whitehall, OH)

Episode 057: Interview with The Buckeye Ranch (Whitehall, OH)

July 8, 2022

In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Amy Nims, Director of Foster Care, and Jennifer Schwitzgebel, Associate Director of Transition Age Youth Services, with The Buckeye Ranch in Whitehall, Ohio. We discussed two programs that support youth aging out of care: My Place transitional living and Bridges, a state partnership that provides funding for youth needs. We also discussed the need for the foster care system to empower youth to make more choices about their lives and how that might be accomplished.

Episode 056: Interview with Marcie Dearth from IMPOWER (Longwood, FL)

Episode 056: Interview with Marcie Dearth from IMPOWER (Longwood, FL)

June 23, 2022

In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Marcie Dearth, the Vice President of Residential Programs of IMPOWER in Longwood, Florida. We focused on their transitional housing program called The Village, which was developed as an extension of their mental health and child wellbeing core services. We also discussed opportunities for improvement of the foster care system, including more collaboration among organizations that serve these young people.

Episode 055: Interview with Leora Bain from G.L.I.D.E. (Grand Rapids, MI)

Episode 055: Interview with Leora Bain from G.L.I.D.E. (Grand Rapids, MI)

June 11, 2022

In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Leora Bain, the President and Founder of G.L.I.D.E. (Guiding Life to Independence through Development and Education) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This program currently assists youth with acquiring their legal documents as they are aging out of foster care. We also discussed the combined employment and housing model that they are planning to implement in the future, the importance of the term "interdependence," and more.

Episode 054: Interview with Bria Zolman from Ball State University’s Guardian Scholars Program (Muncie, IN)

Episode 054: Interview with Bria Zolman from Ball State University’s Guardian Scholars Program (Muncie, IN)

May 28, 2022

In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Bria Zolman, the Guardian Scholars Program Coordinator at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. This program  - which won the AOI 2021 Flame Award for small organizations - supports former foster youth through their experience at Ball State University. We discussed the services and activities that youth can leverage to help them achieve their degree, as well as ideas about what others who work with these youth can do to help prepare them for pursuing their higher education goals.

 
Episode 053: Interview with The Open Table (Phoenix, AZ)

Episode 053: Interview with The Open Table (Phoenix, AZ)

May 12, 2022

In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Jon Katov (CEO), Angie Williams (COO), and Rachelle Butler (Sr. Director of Community Initiatives) from The Open Table, an organization based in Phoenix, AZ, which won the 2021 Flame Award for small organizations. We discussed The Open Table model based on building relational permanency through a unique team support approach to help foster youth achieve their plan for transitioning to adulthood.

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App