A VISION FOR ADVANCING WELL-BEING
In mapping out the course for advancing well-being for young people, the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative has redoubled its commitment to providing resources aimed at helping young people thrive socially, emotionally, financially, intellectually and physically.
“Pivotal moments are moments we remember — moments that test us and invite us to pick a path,” said the initiative’s director, Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez, at the organization’s annual Fall Convening in Clearwater Beach, Fla.
Gasca-Gonzalez also highlighted an exciting framework that will guide her team’s work in the coming year. This vision focuses on offering support across four domains as young people transition from foster care to adulthood. These domains are: 1) social and emotional well-being; 2) economic well-being; 3) intellectual development; and 4) health and safety.
“This is not a new concept but another way to think about our work,” said Gasca-Gonzalez while unveiling an infographic punctuated by images of a road and sun.
The road represents a young person’s journey to well-being — a path that everybody takes to establish a firm foundation in life. Often, young people in foster care have this foundation shaken, said Gasca-Gonzalez.
As for the sun: “Each ray of sunshine represents how we can achieve fulfillment through the four domains of well-being,” she explains. At the sun’s core sits race equity and inclusion, which fuels each domain of well-being. “This reminds us of the importance of looking not just at the color of a young person’s skin, but also at how young people are raised, their experiences, the languages they speak and the traditions they have.”
Jim Casey sites and partners should use the four-domain framework in their daily efforts to advance a young person’s well-being, according to Gasca-Gonzalez, who added that the Initiative would be gauging their success on this front in the months to come.
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When I entered foster care I was hurt, I was angry, I was frustrated and I was quiet. I thought I was the only one going through something. But I learned that caseworkers care, strangers care, and the young people on the youth leadership board—they care about me.
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