A Message from our Project Manager
Happy New Year! As we enter the year 2022, we at Project LIFE would first like to thank everyone for your ongoing support of our program during this past year of 2021. Our Project LIFE team will continue effective IL trainings and supportive services throughout the state with both the public agencies and private providers that serve our communities. Our team is excited to see what this upcoming year has in store for everyone we work with. We continue to have some exciting and innovative events coming soon this year, such as creative and interactive virtual workshops with youth co-facilitators, one to one case consultations with our staff, social media content for youth to engage in, regional ILCC meetings with our VDSS partners to keep local workers connected to IL updates, and agency specific IL opportunities. We hope that you all continue being a part of the Project LIFE family and continue to stay safe in this new year.
Changes to the Ring Central Platform and Links
As anyone who has joined us virtually these past two years knows, we use the Ring Central platform for our virtual meetings. Ring Central has made some updates to their products. Starting mid-December, Ring Central has a new look and still has the same features that we have been using. You should not need to download it again if you have done so previously. These updates have also impacted some of the links that we have made for events. For these events, an updated link will be emailed to all persons already registered, as well as to everyone before the event. To help identify that you have the new link, it will start with “v” and will have the full word “join” in the middle. Old links will not start with “v’ and will only have a “j” in the middle. Reach out to Kelly if you have any questions.
Upcoming Statewide Events
“Talk it Out Tuesdays” is on a Break
Talk it out Tuesdays will not be happening in January. Please check back in future newsletters for updates. Reach out to Melissa with questions.
For Professionals: Meet Project LIFE + VDSS
Date: January 12, 2022 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. via Ring Central
Come and meet your Project LIFE and VDSS IL teams. Hear about us, and our services for both youth and professionals in Virginia. Public and private provider professionals, foster parents, and adoptive parents are invited to attend this “get to know us” session. VDSS Letha Moore-Jones and Monica Cabell will give a brief “NYTD 101” presentation. Register below and contact George with questions. **The link for this meeting has changed. (See previous section for a Ring Central update.) A new link will be emailed to registered participants.**
Vision Board Workshop
Date: January 19, 2022 | Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. via Ring Central
What’s your vision for 2022? Maybe you haven’t thought about it yet. We are here to help. Join Project LIFE for our annual Vision Board Workshop. Gather your old magazines, poster board, and glue, and together we’ll map out a visual plan to help you achieve your short term and long term goals for the new year. Led by Jamesia and a youth co-facilitator, we’ll have fun while we set our goals. Make sure to reserve your spot today by registering using the button below. Contact Jamesia with questions. Contact Jamesia if you need more information or have questions.
Week of LIFE [Love is for Everyone]
Dates: week of February 21, 2022 | Times: various times throughout the week via Ring Central
Coming back in February, by popular demand, is our Week of LIFE, where LIFE stands for “Love Is For Everyone.” Loving yourself and others can be challenging. We’re hosting a week of virtual events and activities geared towards both youth and professionals. Some of our topics include self-care, drug prevention, human trafficking, and more. However, you only need to register once to attend as many as you want. To make things even easier, there will only be one meeting link. Be on the look out for more detailed information on the website and to hit your inbox later in the month.
Upcoming Regional Events
Northern Region’s Independent Living Coordinators Committee (ILCC) Meeting
Date: January 25, 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.
Piedmont Region’s Independent Living Coordinators Committee (ILCC) Meeting
Date: January 25, 2022 | Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. via Ring Central
All Piedmont DSS agencies and private providers are invited to attend to discuss independent living needs for youth transitioning out of foster care. This meeting will also feature a presentation by VDSS on the Youth Welfare Approach (YWA) and other VDSS updates. Contact Jamesia through for more information and click here to attend through Ring Central.
Eastern Region Independent Living Coordinators Committee (ILCC) Meeting
Date: February 16, 2022 | Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. via Ring Central
All Eastern region DSS agencies and private providers are invited to attend to discuss independent living needs for youth transitioning out of foster care. This meeting will include resource sharing and opportunities for youth in this region. Contact Melissa through email if you plan on attending to get the link for this meeting or if you need more information.
Additional Events and Resources
Statewide SPEAKOUT Teen Advisory Board
Your voice matters! Help improve Virginia’s foster care system and inspire positive change in the lives of others. By joining Virginia’s teen advisory board, SPEAKOUT (Strong Positive Educated Advocates Keen On Understanding the Truth), you can contribute to improvements in foster care policy, create lifelong connections, and serve as an agent of change. The board is accepting applications for more members, and youth in foster care and alumni, aged 15-26 are eligible and encouraged to apply. Learn more here.
Youth MOVE Central VA
Join us at Youth MOVE! Youth MOVE (Motivating Others with Voices of Experience) is a group designed to connect local youth with similar experiences together. The group is led by a young adult with lived experience and guided by empathy and compassion. Youth ages 13-19 who have experience in one or more of the children serving systems: mental health, foster care, special education, substance abuse/recovery, juvenile justice, and other services within the child welfare system are encouraged to attend.
Youth MOVE has shifted programming to virtual meetings until further notice. Meetings are held every first Thursday of the month (except for December) from 7:00pm – 8:00pm. Currently, there is not a scheduled meeting for January as we reevaluating plans for the new year. Updated information will be sent out later in January.
To learn more about how youth can get involved, contact Sophia. Learn more about Youth MOVE Virginia.
Northern VA Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
Attention northern Virginia Residents: Do you need assistance gaining employment? Are you interested in earning industry recognized credentials? The WIOA Youth, Adult, and Dislocated Worker programs are looking to enroll interested individuals into our programs! For more information on the WIOA Youth Program (targeting young adults 17-24), please head to their website: https://vcwnorthern.com/youth-programs/youth. For those 18 and older, the WIOA Adult/DW Program can also provide employment and training support: https://vcwnorthern.com/wioa/.
Casey Life Skills Assessment is Changing
This message comes from the Casey Life Skills team. “The toolkit has been revised in collaboration with foster care alumni, resource parents, service providers and child welfare experts to reflect the current needs of the youth. This aligns with Casey Family Programs’ focus on empowering communities, and centering a diversity, equity and inclusion lens. The updated versions will be going through test-retest and other validation processes. In the future, we will also be providing a Spanish translation to the assessment tools. Future updates to the toolkit will be posted to https://www.casey.org/casey-life-skills.”