Did you know that about 70 percent of youth in foster care do not complete high school? Without strong social support, these young people are failing to graduate at an alarming rate. Chance to Advance, one of our foster care programs, is working diligently to reverse this trend on Long Island with a combination of one-on-one mentoring, workshops, and group activities.
Why Our Community Needs Chance to Advance
The primary goal of Chance to Advance is to reduce risk factors, promote life skills, and provide enrichment. We connect at-risk youth with volunteer mentors, enrichment programs, and extra-curricular activities that can create meaningful change in their lives.
Chance to Advance reduces the risk of participants experiencing personal issues such as incarceration, teenage pregnancy, and substance abuse. The program can also provide college and vocational coaching, promote independent living skills, and help to improve self-esteem.
How Chance to Advance Changes Lives
EAC Network matches committed volunteer mentors with youth in foster care who range in age from eight to twenty-one. Our mentors are positive role models who are willing and able to introduce constructive opportunities to the children they are paired up with. Prioritizing both educational and recreational activities, Chance to Advance uses positivity to promote development of these at-risk youth.
Traveling Summer Camp
Our traveling summer camp grants children in foster care unique experiences that they might not have had access to otherwise. At camp, which is fully licensed by New York State, participants can learn valuable life skills, including:
- How to cook
- Strategies for getting along with others
- Overcoming fears
Through exposure to new opportunities and experiences, Chance to Advance reinforces basic skill sets that help young people grow into healthy and successful adults. In past years, Chance to Advance groups experienced cooking classes, escape rooms, Broadway plays, theme parks, baseball games, and the Statue of Liberty. Just last summer, we had 167 youth enrolled in the traveling camp.
Christmas Shopping Spree
The annual Holiday Shopping Spree, generously founded and funded by the Marie & Michael Gubitosi Foundation, is an EAC Network tradition primarily coordinated through the Chance to Advance foster care program. Thanks to generous donations by Tom Gubitosi, Bethpage Credit Union, and Target, an average of 200 children in foster care are given the chance to participate in a $100 tax-free shopping spree each holiday season.
Life Skills Activities and Trips
The children enrolled in Chance to Advance are given the option to engage in different types of life skills activities, including a 10-week leadership program, college tours, and an employment workshop. In the company of mentors, those enrolled learn life skills while having fun in the company of more than 150 of their peers.
Every year, Chance to Advance awards generous scholarships to a few select foster care program participants to offset educational costs. Ranging from $2,500 to $5,000, these stipends are available to high school and college students. The winners are chosen based on academic record and a commitment to maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.5.
How to Support Chance to Advance’s Mission
Chance to Advance achieves its mission every year because of your continuous support. EAC Network is always seeking volunteers to become mentors. We also accept donations of school supplies and clothing for teenagers. If you would like to make a donation or volunteer your time, please contact us today.