June 2023 News

Program Updates

2023 Spring Conference Recap

The 2023 Spring hybrid conference was a HUGE success. On May 5 – 7, 2023, Project LIFE provided a Statewide Youth Conference in the Eastern region with in-person and virtual participants. This conference was located in Virginia Beach, VA. 60 youth participated in-person and additional youth participated through Zoom, and all five regions of VA were represented. We learned about money, employment + higher education, advocacy, healthy relationships, and self-care. Youth and volunteers formed deep connections. Though many met Friday afternoon, it was hard to say goodbye on Sunday morning.
Whether you attended this one or you missed it, we would love to see you be a part of our next one. We host statewide youth conferences twice a year in the fall and spring. Be sure to stay in tune through our news sources for more info.

Piedmont’s ILCC Recap

For the first time in almost a year, the Piedmont Region was able to convene in an ILCC. Members of the Independent Living Coordinators Committee (ILCC) met on May 24, 2023. The meeting provided space for many updates, including upcoming events with Project LIFE and VDSS updates from Ms. Cabell, and locality updates. Additionally, Ms. Guenther shared about her organization in the region. She is the Lynchburg Program Coordinator for the Isaiah 117 House in Lynchburg. They are set to open their doors in June 2023. For more information please check out the video linked here, and their website at https://isaiah117house.com/. Now that this group is back to meeting, attendees are looking to boost partnerships and membership. Please reach out to Cierra, the IL consultant for this region, to partner and get involved.

Upcoming Statewide Events

Credit Workshop

Date: June 15, 2023 | Time: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. for Youth via Ring Central
Virtually join experts from BankOn and Project LIFE to learn all about credit. All Project LIFE eligible youth around the state are encouraged to register and attend online. Contact Melissa Lee through email at mlee@umfs.org if you plan on attending or if you need more information.

Talk it Out Tuesdays Remixed

Date: June 20, 2023 | 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.

Project LIFE Reunion

Date: August 9, 2023 | Time: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. for everyone at UMFS, RVA
Project LIFE is turning 15! Save the date to join us as we celebrate the history and evolution of the Project LIFE program and its impact in Virginia over the last 15 years! More information to come. Reach out to Sophia with questions.

Upcoming Regional and Hybrid Events

Central Region’s Meet the New PLIFE Consultant

Date: June 7, 2023 | Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. for Youth at UMFS, RVA
Join T. Murphy for her first PLIFE workshop, where she will introduce herself and the project services. Youth will be a part of the planning process for upcoming workshops. Learn about leadership opportunities within the Project Life, scholarships and other funding sources offered within the community as well as explore other ways to engage. This workshop will also allow opportunities for youth to practice their public speaking and leadership skills. Youth will strategize with Project LIFE staff in efforts to provide more of what they are looking to learn as they transition into adulthood! Contact T at tmurphy@umfs.org to register by 6/6/23 or with questions.

Central Region’s Activity Planning Fair

Date: June 14, 2023 | Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. for Youth at UMFS, RVA
Youth will participate in an activity fair highlighting potential outings, possible new learning opportunities, entertainers, guest speakers, different discussion topics, crafts, and other fun activities to be implemented throughout the quarter.  They will vote and engage in conversations about the suggested and selected activities to support learning to plan and prepare for other daily living activities & workshops. Youth will gain access, support, and assistance in developing the activity and implementing it as an event to promote independence, self-sufficiency, and leadership. If you would like to attend or have questions, please contact T. Murphy at tmurphy@umfs.org.

Central Region’s CAR Care

Date: June 16, 2023 | Time: TBA for Youth at UMFS, RVA
All PL youth, ages 14-23, in the Central region, whether you have a car now or plan to one day, are invited to attend. Project LIFE is partnering with a local expert to share car info around How often to get service, how to recognize car needs, and how to perform some basic car care tasks. If you would like to attend or have questions, please contact T. Murphy at tmurphy@umfs.org.

Eastern Region’s Graduation Celebration

Date: June 16, 2023 | Time: 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. for Youth in-person in Norfolk, VA
Save the Date! The ILCC in the Eastern region is hosting their annual graduation celebration. Youth graduating this spring can plan to attend the Lunch Cruise in Norfolk. On the boat, attendees will enjoy food and fun. Contact Melissa Lee through email at mlee@umfs.org if you need more information for this event.

Central Region’s Parenting Together Group

Date: June 21, 2023 and continuing monthly | Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. for Youth in-person at UMFS, RVA
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 or have questions, please contact T at tmurphy@umfs.org.

Eastern Region’s Guy Code Group

Date: June 22, 2023 | Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. for Youth in-person in Eastern Region
IL aged males in the Eastern Region are invited to attend to this group. (Note: This will be the last in-person meeting until September, 2023.) Attendees will connect with their peers, receive support, and learn new IL skills. Register for this group by clicking the button below, or contact Melissa Lee at mlee@umfs.org with questions.

Eastern Region’s Voices Youth Group

Dates: Begins July, 2023 | Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. for Youth at UMFS, VA Beach
A new cohort is beginning in July! Voices is a youth empowerment program for youth in foster care or have been in foster care to equip them with resources and tools to be successful as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. We are looking for youth ages 14-18. The program will offer modules that focus on self-exploration (what are the labels that have been given to them over time and how to let go of the ones that no longer work), self-care, anger management, problem solving with the seven resiliencies, personal integrity (exploring personality and character), goal setting/creating new habits, resilience, forgiveness, and breaking the cycle. This new group will begin meeting in July. For more information and for registration contact mlee@umfs.org.

Additional Events and Resources

VDSS Youth Services (IL) Updates Corner

UMFS + Madison House of the Arts Youth Art Show and Foster Care Mixer

Date: June 23, 2023 | Time: 6:30 p.m for all in Lynchburg, VA
UMFS is excited to invite you to our first art show and foster care mixer co-hosted with our partner, Madison House of the Arts. Through the course of the evening you will have an opportunity to hear key notes from UMFS Regional Director, Holly Coates, and Madison House of the Arts Board Member Jen Phelps. You can also enjoy light refreshments, music provided by Madison House, and enter for a chance to win a prize, all while enjoying art created by UMFS youth. You will also have the opportunity to learn about UMFS and the important part you play in supporting foster care. The night will finish with a bonfire and s’mores where you can spend some time getting to know UMFS!

Free Summer Gym Memberships through Planet Fitness

Ends: August 31, 2023 | for Eligible Youth
Read this info from the Planet Fitness website: “Now through August 31st, teens between the ages of 14-19 can work out for free all summer long! Plus, we’re giving away $200,000 to high schools and students! Teens who register can help win a grant for their school and participate in a video contest for a chance to win a scholarship. Don’t wait, register here today.”

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