This year, many of us are mourning the loss of our summer vacations, as they are cancelled out of caution, due to state closures or because of travel bans. In doing so, we are finding out just how valuable those trips were to us. They introduced us to new places and people while allowing us time to recharge.
Our lack of vacationing may seem unique to 2020, but for many - particularly for youth in foster care - going on vacation is the actual rarity. Few, if any, youth in foster care get to experience a vacation in their childhood. Their foster families either don’t take trips or send the youth to respite homes for the duration of their travel. Those in group homes can expect to see the weekend or backup house parents in place of their primary guardians.
Once youth age out of care, vacations may be equally as rare. Only an estimated 3% of foster care youth earn college degrees. Without a bachelor’s degree, employment options are limited and wages even more so. Vacations and even staycations become an unattainable luxury.
The RJ Leonard Foundation aims to change that, by helping youth transitioning out of care earn their degrees and start toward a career of success, and by making the needed luxury of vacations a reality when possible.
RJLF helped its Fellows take trips to Thailand, California and across the country in 2018 after its Dare to Dream initiative highlighted Enriching Experiences. We look forward to doing so again once travel is safe. Click here to find out more about Dare to Dream, RJLF and how you can help.