Sunday, November 05, 2006

Why no state or federal funds for programs like Inspire?

Our Views: Fostering success
The Press - Enterprise. Riverside, Calif.:Sep 11, 2006. p. B06

Turning 18 does not equip teens for self-sufficiency, yet 18 is the age when youths leave foster-care services to live on their own. Thus the vital need for programs like Inspire Life Skills Training, a local organization that helps teens make the difficult transition from foster child to adult.

Corona resident Kristi Camplin founded Inspire a year ago (see www.inspirelifeskills. org). The small nonprofit gives newly emancipated teens a place to live and teaches them skills necessary for success.

Inspire requires the youths to attend college or vocational school, helps them find part-time jobs and gives them training in such basics as cooking and cleaning. Mentors provide guidance, and participants learn to handle money by paying some bills. Currently the program has six young women sharing apartments in Riverside and San Bernardino.

But such aid does not come cheaply. Inspire, which receives no state or federal funds, costs $65,000 a year to operate, and depends on donations and volunteers.

Inspire Life Skills Training and similar programs give former foster children the help that most teens take for granted. Such efforts increase the chances these young people will lead successful, productive lives - a goal certainly worth the public's support.