April 2022 News

Statewide Youth Conference

Statewide Youth Hybrid Conference

Dates: April 29-30, 2022
Richmond, VA – application window closed
or attend virtually through Zoom – registration closes 4/22

Planning for our hybrid conference this spring is deep in progress. Our in-person application window closed on March 25. Thank you to all who applied! To provide a safe in-person experience, space is limited as we will only accept 35 youth across the state. We will send notifications to all youth that applied during the week of April 4th. If youth are not able attend in-person, or if they prefer a virtual platform, they are invited to sign-up for the virtual experience! Virtual registration closes on April 22. We will have some sessions available to join via Zoom on the morning of 4/30. Others can be streamed. Please visit our website for more details!

Upcoming Statewide Events

Spring into Money Management

Dates: April 5-8, 2022 | Time: 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. via Microsoft Teams
Our “Spring into Money Management” series is a great way to spend some time during your Spring Break. Join us Tuesday, April 5th through Friday, April 8th at 3:00pm to 4:00pm each day. Tuesday, youth will learn about selecting a bank, possible fees, checking accounts, and how to avoid check scams. Wednesday’s session focuses on building a “perfect” budget and developing wealth over a life time. Thursday youth will be introduced to the world of credit cards and loans and how to use them safely. Friday, we will dive into credit and how to manage credit to aid oneself in their future. Choose one, all, or the ones you want to attend. Please register and reach out to Olivia Snoke with questions.

Youth Welfare Approach Training for Professionals

Date: April 13, 2022 | Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. via Zoom
Local DSS workers and Private providers in the state of Virginia are invited to attend this training, hosted by Project LIFE and facilitated by Chauncey Strong of Strong Training and Consulting, LLC. This interactive workshop will highlight practical ways to apply the Youth Welfare Approach in service provision that effectively engage youth to be more actively involved in their case planning. Key concepts will include shifting our lens from Child Welfare to Youth Welfare and utilizing a Good-Better-Best continuum to provide service to youth. Please register to attend and reach out to George Mack with questions.

Talk it Out Tuesdays Remixed

Date: April 19, 2022 | Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. via Ring Central and continuing the third Tuesday of every month
Talk it out Tuesdays is coming back and is “remixed.” On the third Tuesday of the month, youth can take advantage of a safe space to connect with their peers. Youth can bring their own topics to chat about, or the group can talk about the topic of the month. The first topic series is “Careers and Coins.” Register once and attend as many as you want! (Note: there is a new meeting link as of Feb. 1.) Reach out to Melissa with questions.

Upcoming Regional Events

Eastern Region hosts “Advocating for my Needs” 8 Week Virtual Series

Dates: March 9 – April 13, 2022 | Time: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. and continuing each Wednesday via Ring Central
Project LIFE continues to lead a small group of youth that will focus on building essential mental health skills for life. The series is called, “Advocating for my needs: A How To Guide.” The series will run from March 8th through April 13th. Contact Melissa if you have questions or need more information. Youth outside of the region are also invited to attend and can register or reach out to Melissa.

Piedmont Region’s “The Exit Strategy”

Date: April 9, 2022 | in-person in Piedmont Region
The Piedmont region is hosting an in-person event called “The Exit Strategy.” Project LIFE youth in this region are invited to attend. Please register using the link below. Contact Jamesia Harrison through email or by phone at 434.846.2002 for more information about this event. You can download the flyer here.

Eastern Region Independent Living Coordinators Committee (ILCC) Meeting

Date: April 13, 2022 | Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. via Ring Central
All Eastern DSS agencies and private providers are invited to attend this ILCC to discuss independent living needs for youth transitioning out of foster care. Contact Melissa through email or at 757.490.9791 x115 if you plan on attending to get the link for this meeting, or if you need more information.

Northern Region’s Independent Living Coordinators Committee (ILCC) Meeting

Date: April 19, 2022 | Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. via Ring Central
All Northern DSS agencies and private providers are invited to attend this ILCC to discuss independent living needs for youth transitioning out of foster care. This meeting will be joined by Monica Cabell with VDSS to share statewide updates. Contact George through email or at 804.239.1044 if you plan on attending to get the link for this meeting, or if you need more information.

Central Region hosts “National Good Car Keeping Month” Events

May is National Good Car Keeping Month. In light of the Transportation Assistance Program funds in Virginia and the September deadline approaching, Project LIFE has created a few learning opportunities for youth to learn more about Good Car Keeping. Contact Olivia if you have questions or need more information. Youth outside of the region are also invited to attend and can register or reach out to Olivia.

Virtual Sessions
Dates: May 5 + 19, 2022 | Times: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. via Microsoft Teams
May 5th, youth can join us to explore how to find and buy a reliable vehicle. May 19, youth can join to learn how to keep it reliable. (This would be good for new car owners, too!

In-Person Sessions
Dates: May 4, 11, 18, and 25, 2022 | Times: different times each day near the intersection of Staples Mill Rd. and Broad Street in Richmond
These events are for PL Youth that own cars in the Central region. Youth that can get to Richmond are invited to bring your car to meet with Olivia to learn about basics of vehicle ownership. She will show you what check on your own car right there in the parking lot. Youth will receive a maintenance schedule, list of safety items to keep in the car, and easy to follow directions for basic car issues, like tire pressure lights, filters, and fluids. Disclaimer: Olivia is not a mechanic and cannot provide diagnosis information for mechanical issues. This same session is being offered at 4 different opportunities at the same location in Richmond, VA. The exact location will be provided upon registration.

Additional Events and Resources

March for Our Care

Date: April 16, 2022 | Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at Old Dominion University – Kaufman Mall
Foster-U, a student organization at ODU, will be hosting a Foster Care Awareness Walk on their campus to serve as a kickoff to national foster care month in May. Join them as they walk and become a champion for foster care! This event is free and open to the public. There will be activities, refreshments, and more. For more information or to register your party, visit this website

Statewide VDSS Check-ins

Date: April 19, 2022 | 3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. via Ring Central and continuing the third Tuesday of every month
This check-in call is open to all DSS agencies to discuss independent living needs and updates with the VDSS IL team’s Letha Moore-Jones and Monica Cabell. These meetings will be held every third Tuesday of each month, staring February 15, 2022, and will run through May 17, 2022. You do not need to register for these check-ins. You can click here at the scheduled time to attend virtually, or contact George, through email or at 804.239.1044, to receive the dial in information to join by phone, or if you have any questions. 

Attention Youth: Transportation Assistance Program (TAP)

There is a new special budget to specifically help eligible youth with transportation needs and fees, like obtaining a driver’s license, vehicle insurance, driver’s education classes and testing fees, practice lessons, practice hours, license fees, and even assistance in purchasing an automobile. If you are a youth already 15 and not yet 23, you may be eligible for this assistance! First contact your local DSS worker and tell them you’re interested in the transportation assistance program. If you get stuck, or you are a worker trying to help your youth and need help, you can reach out to Gwen Castillo at VDSS through her email address.

Sign Up to Host an EMC College Night Event

It is not too late to sign up to host an ECMC College Nights event! Events can take place virtually or in person now through April 30, 2022. This is a great opportunity to prepare your students and families for college. Plus, your students will have a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship! ECMC provides (at no cost to you): 
•    ECMC’s Opportunities booklets
•    PowerPoint presentation (includes complete speaker’s notes)
•    Site host guide (includes everything you need to know to plan and host an event)
•    Train-the-trainer webinar
•    Customizable marketing materials available for download
•    Presentation guides and sign-in sheet
To host an ECMC College Nights event, sign up HERE at least 30 days prior to your anticipated event date. For more details about ECMC College Nights, visit www.collegenights.org. For questions regarding College Nights, email collegenights@ecmc.org.

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