The Project LIFE team has some staffing news to share. Aros Herndon, Western Region IL Consultant with Project LIFE, has submitted his resignation of the Western Region IL Consultant position. Aros has accepted an IL position with DePaul Community Resources. His last day on the Project LIFE team was Monday, November 28, 2022.
Aros began his career at UMFS in 2019, as the Western Region IL Consultant. Aros’ passion and commitment to working with young adults over the years has been displayed through his work in Project LIFE. Aros has brought a vibrant presence to our team over the years and plans to continue working with our program with his new role at DePaul. The team wishes him well in his transition and new endeavors!
Currently Hiring For Project LIFE Vacancies
We are currently hiring to fill the positions of Independent Living Consultant in the Piedmont and Western Regions. The Piedmont position works out of the UMFS regional center in Lynchburg, VA, and the Western position is fully remote, with travel in the region and with some occasional trips to Richmond. We’re looking for someone with knowledge of Virginia’s Independent Living Program, Education and Training Vouchers Program, National Youth in Transition Database, and the Casey Life Skills Assessment. More details and requirements are listed in the job posting. If you or someone you know would be a good fit, please visit the job posting here for more information and to apply.
Level UP! 2022 Fall Statewide Youth Conference Recap
The 2022 Fall hybrid conference was a HUGE success. Mid-November, we had many youth join us in person, and more joined virtually for three sessions on Saturday. Everyone leveled up their adulting skills and participated in sessions with engaging facilitators, learning the how-tos for finances, self-care, Youth-Adult partnerships, and cooking. We all participated in fun activities, ate yummy meals, and enjoyed our time together. Everyone had fun, and it was only made possible through everyone’s efforts. Thank you to DSS workers, transporters, facilitators, and ESPECIALLY to our volunteers.
If you missed this one, no worries! We host statewide youth conferences twice a year. The next one will be in the spring.
Upcoming Statewide Events
Talk it Out Tuesdays Remixed
Date: December 13, 2022 | Time: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. for youth via Ring Central and continuing the third Tuesday of every month
(RETURNING TO EVENINGS.) Talk it out Tuesdays is 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. Register once and attend as many as you want! (Note: there is a new meeting link as of August 25, 2022.) Reach out to Melissa with questions.
Upcoming Regional and Hybrid Events
Central Region’s Wealth Wednesdays
Date: December 7, 2022 and continuing the first Wednesday of the month | Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. for Youth at UMFS, 3900 West Broad St., 23230
Youth are invited to learn about building lifelong wealth. Youth will review their spending from last month, make goals for next month and receive rewards for meeting their goals. If you would like to attend, or have other questions, please contact Olivia through email or by text at 804.239.1239.
Central Region’s Parenting Together Group
Date: December 8, 2022 and continuing monthly | Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. for Youth at UMFS, 3900 West Broad St., 23230
Any Virginia youth, aged 14-23, who has experienced foster care and is a parent, or soon to be parent, to a young child is invited to attend this peer support group. This group will learn together in a safe space while relating with other peers in the same stage of parenthood. Attendees can bring their child(ren) with them to this group, and will be connected to resources, local experts, and prizes/gifts. If you would like to attend online, or have other questions, please contact Olivia (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you would like to attend, or have other questions, please contact Olivia through email or by text at 804.239.1239.
Canceled: Western Region’s Independent Living Coordinators Committee (ILCC) Meeting
Canceled Date: December 14, 2022
This meeting has been canceled due to the vacancy in this position. However, other consultants on the PL team are available to work with your agency or locality. Please reach out to George Mack at email@example.com with questions.
Eastern Region’s Service Learning Opportunity
Date: December 10, 2022 | Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. for Youth at Military Circle Mall 880 N. Military Hwy., Norfolk
Come out and lend a hand to the Marine Foundation Toys for Tots as they prepare toys for shipment to go to local youth in need. This service learning opportunity is warehouse work so dress comfortably and be prepared to assist our local service members as they give back to the community. RSVP with Melissa Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org and consent forms will be provided.
Eastern Region’s ILCC Holiday Party!
Date: December 12, 2022 | Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. for Youth at Virginia Peninsula Community College in Newport News.
Come out and celebrate the holidays with Project LIFE and the Easter Region Independent Living Coordinators Committee (ERILCC) at our Christmas Party. We will have food, fun and games. Please register using the linked button below.
Fostering Community Meetings
The Central region is introducing Fostering Community meetings! Youth 14 to 23 years old, who are or were in foster care, are invited to join Project LIFE at their local library each month to learn adulting skills and hang out with others in their community. Activities will be decided by the first individual to arrive. Contact Olivia through email or by text at 804.239.1239 to RSVP or to get a Fostering Community Meeting set up near you.
Fredericksburg Fostering Community Meeting is canceled.
Canceled Date: December 23, 2022
Northern Region’s Holiday Cooking Series with Chef Jay Wigs
Dates: December 13-15, 2022 | Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. for Youth in person at McLean Bible Church, 8925 Leesburg Pike Vienna, VA 22182
All youth ages 14-23 in Virginia’s foster care are invited to participate in this fun, interactive 3-day cooking workshop with Chef Jay Wigs. Each night will be a different holiday meal and/or dessert that youth will be able to cook alongside the chef. We encourage each youth to bring a supportive adult or staff in their lives with them if they can, but this is not a requirement. All participants will receive a holiday gift provided by Project Belong program. Contact George through email at email@example.com or at 804.239.1044 if you need more information. Register for this event using the button below.
Central Region’s Week of LIFE and LIFE Out Loud Event
Dates: December 13-15, 2022 | Times: 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. for youth at UMFS, 3900 West Broad St., Richmond, VA
Save the date and register now for for a Week of LIFE! Workshops will include advocacy training, public speaking training, and leadership training. Attending youth will become comfortable for advocating for needs, sharing their stories in an impactful way, and taking charge of their futures. The three days will wrap up with an event called “LIFE Out Loud” where youth will share their lived experiences through creative expression and performances. Youth performing in the LIFE Out Loud event will need to attend all three days as well as orientation, planning meetings, and rehearsals. Event support, like food and prizes, for this week is being sponsored by the Virginia Credit Union and Anthem. We appreciate their partnership! Contact Sophia or Olivia through email with questions, and stay tuned for more details. Register through the link below..
Northern Region’s Independent Living Coordinators Committee (ILCC) Meeting
Date: January 24, 2022 | Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. for professionals 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 cover topics related to transitioning youth into adulthood and will be joined by Monica Cabell with VDSS to share statewide updates. Contact George through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 804.239.1044 if you plan on attending to get the link for this meeting, or if you need more information.
Eastern Region’s Guy Code Group
Date: TBA – January, 2023 | evenings for youth
Eastern Region’s New Parent Baby Shower by Molina (Rescheduled)
Date: TBA – January, 2023 | Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. for youth close enough to attend in-person at 5612 Haden Road, VA Beach
Any Virginia youth, aged 14-23, who has experienced foster care and is a
parent, or soon to be parent, to a young child is invited to attend. Molina
Healthcare of VA will shower the parent attendees with practical items
to use with their child. They will also go over resources for the parents. Register using the button below.
Additional Events and Resources
VDSS Youth Services (IL) Updates Corner
Statewide VDSS Permanency Conference
Dates: December 7-8, 2022 for people who support or provide direct services to families or children with the child welfare system in Hampton, VA.
The Virginia Department of Social Services’ Division of Family Services is hosting its first annual Permanency Conference: The Journey to Permanency 2022. The conference will consist of an array of workshops and resources to support both public and private community partners in the areas of family engagement, kinship, recruitment, foster care, pre and post adoption, and Interstate Compact of the Placement of Children. Click the button below for more info and to register.
Statewide VDSS Check-ins
Date: March 7, 2023 and continuing the first Tuesday of every month | Time: 3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. for professionals via Ring Central
These check-in calls are 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 first Tuesday of each month, starting March 7, 2023, and will run through May 2, 2023. You do not need to register for these check-ins. You can click here at the scheduled time to attend virtually, or contact George at email@example.com or at 804.239.1044 to receive the dial in information to join by phone, or if you have any questions.