WWLTV: Catholic Charities program helps former foster kids

Published on September 18, 2015

NOTE: This program is no longer available at Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans. If you are interested in foster care programs, please visit our Therapeutic Family Services page.

Sonya Brown is now a social worker helping children, but when she was young, she was a foster child at age six. But that support ended abruptly. “I’d been in about six or seven homes.”

“At 18 when you’re in foster care , you’re no longer a ward of the state, so you have to find a place to live on your own. At 18 I was terrified,” she said.

But the Catholic Charities Independent Living Skills program provides training for adult decisions, and helps with necessities from clothing to food.

“Teaching them the basic life skills,” explained Program Director Melisa Jack. “That’s basically what we’re all about. When they need, if they need food, if they need clothing, they need help just to get a job.”

“I came in and I thought I knew everything, and she basically taught me everything I knew about banking, budgeting, self care,” Brown remembers fondly.

In an Action Report last summer on the Independent Living Skills program, and one of the people watching was Mark Plaideau of the New Orleans Catholic Men’s Club Association. “I was astonished at what the kids were able to take and get from the program,” said Plaideau.

Last summer’s softball tournament became a fund raising event for Independent Living Skills.

“Oh I was tremendously excited,” said Plaideau. “We raised over $3000.”

They’d like to beat that record at their third annual tournament Saturday at LaSalle Park in Metairie. They’ll collect donations of cash or items needed by Independent Living Skills.

“We’re looking for household items just like they offer the kids here in the Independent Living Skills Program,” said Plaideau.  “Sheets, towels, pillow cases, blankets,” added Jack, and “clothing.”

“People can make a really big difference for young people just like me,” concluded Brown. To donate to the Catholic Charities Independent Living Skills Program, call the agency at 310-6929, or bring your donation to the Catholic Men’s Club Association Softball Tournament on Saturday at LaSalle Park in Metairie, and enjoy the game.

Click here to see the full interview:  http://www.wwltv.com/story/news/action/2015/09/18/action-report-catholic-charities-program-helps-former-foster-kids/32521801/