Many of us, if we’re lucky, have spent the past few (and the next few) weeks working from home. Many more are struggling to make ends meet as they face layoffs in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. Still others are going into work - into offices, medical facilities, grocery stores and other businesses deemed essential. These essential employees are helping to keep the rest of us afloat.
One such employee is RJLF’s very own Fellow “Joseph”. Joseph is a youth counselor at a residential facility, where he works 40 hours per week. He says that while his one-on-one work with the kids continues much as it did prior to COVID-19, there have been some noticeable changes at the facility. “All of the employees have to wear masks or they’re sent home. Your temperature is taken before you come into the building. If it’s over 100, you get sent home.” He adds that everything has to be sanitized, a lot.
For the youth at the facility, life has gone virtual. Their schooling and visits with families are now online. No visitors are permitted within the building. There are no community activities. And even their interactions with each other have lessened. Rather than eating as a large group, the kids now eat lunch 10 at a time. “No one can sit [right] next to each other,” says Joseph.
When asked if he’s nervous going into work still and what it feels like to be deemed an essential employee, Joseph says that his main worry is that if he gets infected, he may unknowingly infect others. But overall, he feels lucky.
“You feel blessed to be working; you appreciate it,” he says. “A lot of people at my job, they’re the only people working right now in their families.
“We aren’t as important as the doctors and nurses, but we are trying to take care of kids.”
RJLF is so proud of Joseph and incredibly privileged to know him. Keep doing the work that you do Joseph, and thank you.
I am sure many of us can look back over the course of our lives and identify several milestones that shaped who we are today. When you think about these milestones think about the adults that were there: a parent, a coach, a teacher, a trusted friend. Now imagine navigating those milestones without them: high school, college, the transition to adulthood. Scary huh? This is often the reality for young people in foster care.
If you have ever considered becoming mentor, what has held you back? You don’t need any special skills, it doesn’t cost you anything or take much time. You just need to be you! There are countless young people who have aged out of foster care in our community that need that connection, that support, that one person that believes in them.
So are you ready? Give us a call, we would love to help connect you with that young person. Mentoring relationships are a shared opportunity for learning and growth. Many of our mentors feel that they have gained more from the relationship than they ever imagined. #MentoringMonth
Describing Joyce as busy is quite the understatement! She is a very active student at Montgomery County Community College, immersing herself in the community on campus. She is a Student Ambassador and the host of a successful campus radio show called "The Afternoon Groove." She was also in a recent dance showcase and spoke on a panel at orientation for new students. Joyce is completing the work for her associate degree this month. In the Spring, she will be starting at Temple University! She is already starting to get involved. She recently attended the ASEZ Student Leadership Summit.
Joyce is also a dedicated and loving mother who makes sure to share her desire to help other people with her two beautiful children. Joyce and her daughter recently participated in the International WeLoveU Foundation's walk to support relief efforts in Mozambique. Her son is excelling in school. He has surpassed his grade level in reading. Her daughter has also expressed an interest in following in her mother's dancing footsteps, having asked to start ballet this year.
Joyce's former Rapid Rehousing Coach, with whom she worked for two years, shared these beautiful words: Joyce always worked so hard, often holding down two jobs while going to school full time. In spite of setbacks, she always was able to reevaluate her situation and make changes when necessary. She's a wonderful mother and is devoted to her children. They are always the first thing she worries about. She has risen from some very difficult circumstances to have confidence that she can make a better life for herself and her children, even if it's still a difficult road ahead. She has faced many challenges along the way but has always had the strength to rebound and find a way to make things work. She's also an active member of her church, which is an important part of her life, and devotes time to working with the youth there.
Our RJLF family kicked off our holiday season celebrating together. There was great company, delicious food and lots of happy little ones! Please help us to continue to make the holidays special for our fellows by fulfilling their Amazon wishlists, it's not too late!
Thank you to Greg Heinley and the team at ScanSource for providing us with a check for our Holiday Party and Gift Drive. We appreciate your generosity this Holiday season!
Spending this weekend getting some holiday shopping done? Want to shop local and support RJLF at the same time?
Puzzle for Good creates these beautiful puzzles that support great artists while giving back to local non-profits! Check out the link below for our fundraiser.
For many people, exchanging gifts with family members is an important part of the holiday season. For our Fellows, however, this tradition is complicated. They lack the family structures and support systems so many of us take for granted. These remarkable young people are hard at work building self-sufficient lives and they too deserve to enjoy the holidays. This year, to help them celebrate the season, we’ve asked our Fellows to prepare Amazon wish lists for themselves and their children.
As you pick out gifts for your loved ones, please take a moment to look at these lists, and consider granting a holiday wish this season. All you need to do is click on one of the names below. While you're shopping on Amazon, you can use AmazonSmile to support RJLF. Just go to AmazonSmile and search for RJLF.
Please join us in helping our Fellows celebrate the holiday season.
Brittany is an intelligent, determined, and hard-working mother. She's currently working in the pharmaceutical industry and focused on providing stability and meaningful opportunities for her son. While involved in RJLF, Brittany has furthered her education including, completing courses at her dream school, Villanova.
Caroline is a single mother, determined to make a better life for herself and her son. Her goal is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in education. Caroline recently completed her associate's degree and is employed at a community college. She loves working in education and helping other students achieve their own goals.
Emily’s early experiences with the foster care system and homelessness motivated her to create opportunities for herself and her daughter. We are proud to say that Emily recently completed the nursing program at MCCC. She has now started a new job working as an RN while also pursuing her Bachelor of Nursing at Drexel.
Joseph is an amazing young man. He used to believe he wasn't "school material," but he is now taking several classes to further his education while also working full time in his field of study. He works closely with his RJLF Mentor, who is helping him pursue a degree in social work. He is determined to give back and help others.
Joyce, a hard-working single parent, will earn her associate's degree this winter. She was accepted by Temple University, where she plans to study psychology with the goal of working in education. Joyce cares deeply about the community and participates in many social and organizational clubs. She is a dedicated mom who is committed to achieving her goals so as to provide her children with the best possible life.
Theresa is an incredibly hard worker, constantly balancing an overflowing plate. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at West Chester University. She also works three jobs and takes car of her son as a single parent. Her dedication, independence, and work ethic inspire everyone around her.
Heart for Change 2019 is just around the corner!
Great live and silent auction items include Princeton hockey, football, and lacrosse tickets, beautiful artwork, private suite for you and 15 guests at a 2020 Phillies game, a hay ride in Bucks County for 8 people, winery tours, and more!
Our annual Heart for Change event will be held on Friday, October 18th, 2019 at the Cedarbrook Country Club
in Blue Bell, PA
from 7:30pm to 10:30pm
Tickets are $55 and include delicious hors d'oeuvres and desserts, and a cash bar.
Join the RJLF Family, have fun, listen to some great music, and make a life size difference for some remarkable
young RJLF Fellows!
There will be both a live and a silent auction. Bid on beautiful pieces of art work, exciting local get-aways, delightful pampering opportunities, sporting event packages and much more!
You will have the opportunity to hear from our Fellows, Mentors, and our Board members about their experiences as part of our family and how you can join us.
All funds raised support our mission to empower Bucks and Montgomery County foster care graduates in their pursuit of education and self sufficiency.
Tickets are now sold out, but it is not too late to make a donation!