The Lubbock, Corpus Christi, and Laredo Foster In Texas (FIT) offices have recently hosted Foster Youth Workshops for the 14 to 18-year-old foster children in our program. Kelley Broadaway, FIT’s Statewide Clinical Director, is traveling across Texas to visit our FIT offices this summer, teaching “Experiential Life Skills,” and talking about the importance of maintaining healthy lifestyles and learning good financial practices.
This is such an important workshop for foster youth, to prepare them for transitioning out of the foster care system and into the next important phase of their young adult lives.
Ms. Broadaway requests that healthy snacks and meals be provided during the training. The Laredo workshop (pictured here) offered healthy veggie and fruit trays for snacks, bottled water, and healthy Subway sandwiches with baked chips.* The training also includes info about basic household upkeep, nutrition, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and reading labels and following recipes.
These teen workshops are about a lot more than food, however. Broadaway also discusses healthy financial choices with the teens. She conducts an activity where the kids pretend to move into their own apartment, and they have to predict how much their rent, utilities, monthly bills and “extras” will cost. The extras they always want to include are high-end cable, wifi, smart phones, money for entertainment, and a clothing allowance. Then they discuss the realities of minimum wage (or even a whopping $10/hour) and what comes out of a paycheck. After adding up all the monthly bills, they usually end up $500-1,200 in the hole.
Next, they brainstorm about how to cut costs—cheaper phone plan, drop HBO, get a roommate, cut clothing budget, etc. This exercise is always a big hit with the kids, Broadaway says.
The cost-of-living activity is followed up with a discussion about the difference, danger, and necessity of credit and debit cards, and the real-world topics of taxes, loans, checking vs. saving accounts, avoiding predatory lending practices, and credit scores.
Shouldn’t every teen take a class like this?
Kelley Broadaway’s schedule for upcoming Life Skills FIT workshops:
- Harlingen – July 28
- McAllen – July 29
- Victoria – August 6
*Funds from the Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust were used to purchase refreshments and door prizes for youth attending the Laredo workshop.