Today our news feeds seem like they are always full of stories of despair – the pandemic, conflict around the world, climate change, and many other pressing issues can cause a sense of dread. Hopeland, and our platform for action and advocacy, is fueled however by a desire to share messages of hope with you all.
In that spirit we are thrilled to announce our partnership with New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services and our friends at New Yorkers For Children to create an innovative program for youth in foster care in New York City.
Our program, TechLink, is one of the first ever public-private partnerships to provide coding classes, tech immersion, and career planning for older youth in foster care – a group that Hopeland is focused on helping as we deliver our mission of ensuring every child has a safe, loving family.
Built upon the existing Code Next program Hopeland has partnered with Google to provide youth in foster care with a unique experience that includes other career and college planning support. The initial cohort of high school students has received career path planning education, mentoring and programming that will help them develop a pathway towards a successful STEM career.
In its pilot stage TechLink was launched in January 2021 and has already proven to be a vital program that provides an incredible experience to older youth in foster care. As a result of our program our youth are more empowered and less at risk.
Hopeland is committed to improving the lives of youth in this situation here in the U.S. because, historically, teenagers in the foster care system who eventually age out having never found an adoptive family to care for them have been less likely to graduate, more likely to face homelessness during their lives, and generally more likely to face difficulties. It is our hope that by creating programs like TechLink we can change the direction of these statistics. It is so important that we do everything we can to help these young people and ensure they can thrive.
In the words of our Co-Founder, Deborra-lee Furness, “Hopeland was created to not only give a voice to young people and families but also to take action to deliver our vision of a world where every child has a safe, loving family. I’m over the moon to see Hopeland launch this innovative and exciting program to help young people in NYC thrive!”
Fortunately, even though the problems faced by some young people aging out of foster care have only gotten worse during the pandemic, our programming has made an even more significant impact on the lives of youth by ensuring that they continue to learn, stay connected and advance their aspirational goals.
Although we were unable to hold lessons in person at the program’s state of the art tech lab in the heart of NYC, TechLink has been provided virtually throughout 2021 – impacting the work the youth were able to do and the opportunities that were open to them.
In spite of the odds, and thanks to the incredible leadership of the TechLink staff, the students have performed amazingly well and delivered some incredible achievements which were displayed at the end of semester presentation. The students have coded their own websites, created YouTube videos and podcasts, and learnt so much more. We can’t wait to see what else they achieve!
Students have said it is great to see women of color in leadership roles and teachers who “look like me”. We know how important it is for young people to have role models they can look up to and how valuable this is in the impact of our program.
We are also delighted to tell you that we have secured $100,000 in additional funding for the program to allow Techlink to expand in Fall of 2021 and to include a stipend for the youth who are participating. We hope this extra element of TechLink will ensure that every young person who is enrolled in the program not only benefits from the program but also gets some financial help in these difficult times.
We will be sure to share more updates with you as the program expands. TechLink is a great example of the incredible achievements that are possible when we work together with our partners to deliver for children and families around the world who need our help.
Hopeland’s focus on impact and innovation in delivering TechLink as part of our platform for action and advocacy has been key in creating this program that is benefiting youth in NYC today. If you want to learn more about our work please follow us on social media and sign up to support us at our website.