July 2021 News

Program Updates

Youth Welfare Approach

Historically, child welfare focused on providing services to children in foster care, but over time there has been an increase in older youth in care. Though youth in the child welfare system need to be kept safe, during adolescence the focus of care needs to emphasize promoting permanency, normalcy and prioritizing a successful transition to adulthood. Because of the unique needs of youth, the Virginia Department of Social Services is embarking on a different framework to engage youth, entitled the Youth Welfare Approach (YWA). This approach more adequately addresses the strengths and needs of youth and youth adults. Project LIFE will be assisting with supportive services around the Youth Welfare Approach as we adopt this framework.
The Youth Welfare Approach recommends shifting our lens from a child-focused system to a youth-focused system in four key areas: from being reactive to proactive; from being case-driven to youth-driven, from being protection-focused to normalcy-focused, and from being focused on the past and present to focused on the future. It is a customized approach that acknowledges youth are the experts of their lives, and it is responsive to the developmental, social, and practical needs of these young people.
The YWA is launching in Virginia this month. For more information on the YWA, click the button to access  the “Embracing the Youth Welfare System” Guide. Learn more about the YWA.

Recap: Virtual Pride Month Exhibition

In June and in the spirit of celebration, we showed our pride for the LGBTQ+ community. We put out a call for any expression of allyship. The following media were submitted by the PL team and community. Take time to view each one, and make sure you view all the way to the end to see an extra special message. View the exhibition.

Have you checked out our new website yet?

We are excited to share that Project LIFE has a new website! Thanks to the feedback you all have shared with us over the last year, we have updated key parts of our site to improve how each of you accesses the information you need most – including new regional pages that highlight your region’s events, staff, and news! Take me to the new site!

Upcoming Statewide Events

Summer Bucket List Bingo!

Dates: July 1- August 27, 2021 | Various times and locations
Ready for a summer challenge? The game runs through July and August. Achieve a BINGO by completing 4 squares in a row. BINGOs can be made vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Or, you can also complete each corner instead of 4 in a row. This guide on our website will share what needs to be done to complete each square and challenge. Win $25 or $50 VISA dollars for completed challenges. Eligble events are listed with a (*Bingo!) in the title.

Summer Book Club! (*Bingo!)

Deadline for book: July 6, 2021
Dates: July 20 at 1:30; July 22 at 5:00; August 17 at 1:30
Virtual event via Ring Central

Register for these events by this July 6 to receive the book in the mail. (You can provide the book on your own if you miss the registration date, and still register to attend one of the discussions.) Read the book, “I am Not Dying With You Tonight” by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones. Use the meeting link from your registration email to attend one session of your choosing to discuss the book with your peers. (The three sessions will feature the same discussion questions.)  Register here for book club.

Talk it Out Tuesdays (*Bingo!)

Dates: July 6 + 20, 2021 | Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Ring Central Application
Feeling isolated due to COVID? Need someone to connect with? Miss talking with peers? Talk it Out Tuesdays is an open platform for youth to talk with other youth and trusted adults about anything on their minds. Hosted by Jamesia and Melissa, you can join in this social session by registering with the button below. Register Here.

Parenting Together with the Basics (*Bingo!)

Date: July 21, 2021 | Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Virtual events via Ring Central Application
Are you a parent to a young child? The baby stage is hard, and some say the toddler stage is even harder. Band together with other parents to connect with one another and to learn basic ways to improve your child’s brain growth. We’ve already covered 3 topics, and we’ll cover the last two topics in July. This will be the last session. These groups are facilitated by a peer parent and the PL staff. Register once using the button below. Contact Kelly with questions. Register Here.

Virtual Game Night (*Bingo!)

Date: July 22, 2021 | Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Virtual Events
Join us for a fun night of gaming! Youth will be able to participate in a cross platform gaming session that will be streamed live on Twitch or YouTube. Games will include Apex Legends, Among Us, Knockout City, and more. All games listed are cross platform, meaning that they can be played from multiple devices (Mac/PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Phone, etc). Sophia will send more information to the registered attendants as the event nears. Register for game night here.

The College Admission Race (*Bingo!)

Date: August 4, 2021 | Time: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Virtual Event via Zoom Application
Project LIFE is partnering with ECMC to host this session. The College Admissions Race workshop is an interactive activity where students participate as members of a college admissions committee to determine which applicants should be granted admissions to their college based on the values of their respective school. Students learn how colleges approach reviewing college applications and the various factors that schools may consider when making admissions decisions. Reach out to George with any questions. Register for the activity here.

Upcoming Regional Events

Eastern Region’s Sumer Series with VLPP

The Eastern region is partnering with the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood (VLPP) for a 3 course summer series. Read on for info about the two remaining stand-alone sessions. All sessions will be virtual through the Ring Central Application. Contact Melissa if you plan on attending or if you need more information. If you are not a youth from the Eastern region but are interested in attending, reach out to Melissa. Register here for the VLPP training series.

Session 2: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Date: July 13, 2021 | Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Youth will be given an overview of sexually transmitted infections, including symptoms, prevention, treatment methods, and testing options. 
Session 3: Sex and Technology
Date: August 9, 2021 | Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Youth and the facilitator will discuss the role that technology plays in dating and sexual relationships.

Eastern Region Independent Living Coordinators Committee (ILCC) Meeting

Date: July 14, 2021 | Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Virtual Video Conference with the Ring Central Application

All Eastern region DSS agencies and private providers are invited to attend to discuss independent living needs for youth in this region. Contact Melissa if you plan on attending or if you need more information.

Piedmont Region Independent Living Coordinators Committee (ILCC) Meeting

Date: July 22, 2021 | Time: 2:00 p.m.
Virtual Video Conference with the Ring Central Application

All Piedmont region DSS agencies and private providers are invited to attend to discuss independent living needs for youth in this region. Contact Jamesia if you plan on attending or if you need more information. The meeting link can be found here.

Western’s Monthly IL Sessions

Virtual trainings via the Ring Central Application
Aros is the Western area IL consultant for the PL team. He meets with several agencies each month for their planned IL Sessions. Some common trainings that he offers are financial literacy, good credit, permanency, and many more. Let Aros know of an area of Independent Living skills that the youth could benefit from, and he will make it work! If your Western-region agency has a plan to get your youth together and would like Aros to lead a training, please reach out to him at aherndon@umfs.org.

Additional Events and Resources

Take your next step with Registered Apprenticeship!

Date: July 22, 2021 | Time: 5:00 p.m.
Get Information on how to start your career with a Registered Apprenticeship! Join us for an overview of Registered Apprenticeship provided by Virginia’s State Apprenticeship Agency and the CRAFT Project grant team. Register here. Questions? Contact Sean McCusty, Department of Labor and Industry, here.

Back Together Summer Picnic in the Northern Region

Date: August 6, 2021 | Time: 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Formed Families Forward is hosting an Back Together Summer Picnic event in Fairfax VA.  The event is free of charge for foster, adoptive and kinship families but registration is required! This is a good opportunity for foster, adoptive and kinship families to reconnect and relax after the long pandemic year. Families will participate in a short service project, creating pet items that will be donated to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. After the service project there will be a joint family meal that is provided by FFF. Following the meal, children will have time to play and participate in games and activities supervised by our volunteers. You can access the flyer here and register here. Contact Leslie with questions.

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