SOURCE: A Sense of Home

A Sense of Home

November 28, 2016 17:02 ET

Give A Sense of Home This Giving Tuesday

L.A.-based nonprofit furnishes homes for aged-out foster youth

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - November 28, 2016) - This Giving Tuesday, help transform the lives of former foster youth by supporting Los Angeles-based nonprofit A Sense of Home, which creates first-ever homes for at-risk foster youth who "age out" of the foster care system using donated furniture and housewares as well as more than 1,800 volunteers.

Founded in 2014 by Georgie Smith, a designer and chef, A Sense of Home seeks to provide a better start for foster care youth who age out of the system without family or community networks to help them transition into adulthood. Smith was recently named a Top 10 Hero for 2016 by the prestigious CNN Heroes initiative, which celebrates individuals who make extraordinary contributions that help improve the lives of others.

"Being recognized as a Top 10 CNN Hero is such an honor, but the need is still so great," said Smith. "A Sense of Home currently has the capacity to reach 130 former foster youth each year with much-needed services and social connections. We hope people will consider making A Sense of Home their project this Giving Tuesday to help us expand our reach and impact immensely."

Those who want to help can set up their own fundraising page at Crowdrise or donate directly to A Sense of Home.

The 2016 Top 10 CNN Heroes will be honored at a live televised ceremony on Sunday, December 11th at 8 p.m. ET. Each Top 10 Hero will be awarded $10,000 and the CNN Hero of the Year will receive an additional $100,000. Online voting is now open for the Hero of the Year. Supporters can vote for Georgie Smith up to 10 times per day at CNNHeroes.com, on Facebook Messenger by messaging "VOTE" to CNN Heroes, and on Twitter by tweeting Georgie Smith's name and #HeroesVote. Voting will be open through Tuesday, December 6th at midnight PT.

With the largest foster care population in the country, L.A. County sees more than 2,500 youth age out of the foster care system each year, many of them on their own and at a significant disadvantage. Of the 22,000-35,000 young people nationally who exit the foster care system each year without permanent family connections:

  • 50 percent will experience homelessness, and at least one-in-five will become chronically homeless.
  • 50 percent will be unemployed by the age of 24.
  • Less than three percent will earn a college degree and only 58 percent will graduate high school by age 19 (compared to 87 percent of all 19 year olds).
  • One-in-four will be involved in the justice system within two years of leaving foster care.
  • 71 percent of young women will be pregnant by age 21.

A Sense of Home relies on donations of gently-used furniture and housewares, as well as the generous time of volunteers, to create living environments for qualifying former foster youth. Significantly, each beneficiary pays it forward by partaking as a team member to create another youth's home. In the process, the A Sense of Home community acts as extended family to the transitioning youth, providing practical and emotional support, and, when possible, professional connections they might not otherwise have.

As part of their award packages, each Top 10 Hero will also receive free organizational training from the Annenberg Foundation, a leading supporter of nonprofits worldwide. They will participate in a customized version of the Annenberg Alchemy program, which offers practical guidance to help strengthen organizations for long-term success. This is the fifth year of CNN's collaboration with the Annenberg Foundation.

For more information about the CNN Heroes campaign, visit CNNHeroes.com.

For more information about A Sense of Home and the challenges faced by youth who age out of the foster care system, visit ASenseofHome.org. To make a donation, visit CrowdRise.com/A-Sense-of-Home.