March 2023 News

Program Updates

Staff Transition

The Project LIFE team has some staffing news to share.  Olivia Snoke has submitted her resignation of the Central Region IL Consultant position with Project LIFE. Her last day was Friday, February 24, 2023. 

Olivia began her career at UMFS a year ago at the beginning of 2022. Olivia’s passion and commitment to working with young adults is incredible. Her lived experience guided her throughout her time with Project LIFE. Olivia’s go-getter mentality was infectious to our team in her short time with our program. She plans to continue working with our program as a volunteer and facilitator. We wish her the very best in her new role.

Currently Hiring For Project LIFE Vacancy

We are currently hiring to fill the position of Independent Living Consultant in the Western Region. 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.

Statewide Youth Conference

2023 Spring Conference: Dream LIFE Plaza

Dates: May 5-7, 2023 | for Youth in-person at Virginia Beach, VA or Online via Zoom
We’re pleased to announce the details of the 2023 Spring Hybrid Conference. Join us this spring in VA Beach, or online, to learn about ways you can elevate your life without limitations! Youth aged 14-21, who live in Virginia, and are in foster care or fostering futures, are invited to apply. We will improve our IL skills through fun workshops all weekend. To provide a safe in-person experience, we will have COVID-19 mitigation strategies in place for all attendees, volunteers, and facilitators, including health questionnaires. In-person applications and virtual registration have both opened as of February 17, 2023. We are also accepting applications for volunteers. Visit the conference page on our website for more information and to apply.

Upcoming Statewide Events

All Things Credit

Date: March 9, 2023 | Time: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. for Youth via Zoom
Youth around the state are invited to learn all about credit: what it is, why it is important, and how to build good credit. Bring all of your credit score questions to be answered by Olivia. The same information will be presented at all sessions, but come multiple times for the rich discussion. (NOTE: There is a new link as of 2/23/23 and it will be on Zoom and not Teams.) If you have other questions, please contact Sophia, through email sbooker@umfs.org.

Talk it Out Tuesdays Remixed

Date: March 21, 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.

Upcoming Regional and Hybrid Events

Eastern Region’s Voices Youth Group

Dates: March 7 + 14 + 21 + 28, 2023 | Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. for Youth at UMFS, VA Beach
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. For registration contact mlee@umfs.org.

March Your Money into Line

Dates: March 14 + 15 + 16, 2023 | Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. for Youth in-person at UMFS, RVA or online via Zoom
Any Virginia youth, aged 14-23, who has experienced foster care, is invited to join Project LIFE and outside experts at one of these three repeated sessions as we go over various money topics, like budgeting and scams, to march your money into line. Register to attend using the link below. Contact Sophia at sbooker@umfs.org or at 804.239.1272 with questions.

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

Date: March 15, 2023 | Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. for Professionals 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 at mlee@umfs.org if you plan on attending or if you need more information.

Eastern Region’s Guy Code Group

Date: March 23, 2023 | Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. for Youth in-person in Eastern Region
IL aged males in the Eastern Region are invited to attend to this group. 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.

Central Region’s Parenting Together Group

Date: April 19, 2023 taking a break in March 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 want to attend or have other questions, please contact Olivia (osnoke@umfs.org).

Northern Region’s Week of LIFE Workshop Series

Dates: February 20-24, 2023 | Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. each night for Youth and Professionals in-person and online, in Northern Region
Save the dates for Northern’s Week of LIFE! All youth ages 14 – 21 in Virginia’s foster care system are invited to participate in these fun, interactive IL workshops throughout the week. More events will be added as they are confirmed. Contact George Mack at gmack@umfs.org or at 804.239.1044 if you need more information for these events.

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

Date: April 18, 2023 | Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 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 gmack@umfs.org or at 804.239.1044 if you plan on attending to get the link for this meeting, or if you need more information.

FAB LIFE Financial Literacy workshop with the College Place

Date: April 19, 2023 | Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. for Youth at UMFS, NOVA
Youth will be able to make informed financial decisions and take control of their money during this hands-on workshop. Dinner will be provided for all participants. Register here.

Art and Joy: Art Therapy Workshop

Date: April 21+22, 2023 | Time: Friday: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. and Saturday – 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. for Youth at UMFS, NOVA
These workshops will provide techniques and coping skills for youth through their artistic output. All art supplies will be provided, along with dinner/lunch. Register here.

Northern Region Permanency/Permanent Connections Workshop with Loudoun County DSS

Date: April 24, 2023 | Time: TBA for Youth at 45201 Research Place, Suite 110, Ashburn, VA  
All youth ages 14 – 21 in Loudoun County DSS’s foster care are invited to participate in this fun, interactive IL workshop on permanent connections. If you are in this DSS and would like to attend, contact Lyle Davidson through email at lyle.davidson@loudoun.gov.

Additional Events and Resources

VDSS Youth Services (IL) Updates Corner

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 gmack@umfs.org or at 804.239.1044 to receive the dial in information to join by phone, or if you have any questions. 

Eastern Opportunity Fair

UMFS Scholarship Program

Deadline: May 31, 2023 | for Eligible Project LIFE Youth
The UMFS Scholarship Program is open to all students who have been part of any UMFS program, including Project LIFE, for at least 6 months. The program provides scholarships for the following: Vocational education and training, Colleges or universities, including community college, UMFS Courage to Succeed program expenses. Recipients are selected from completed applications by the UMFS Scholarship Committee annually. Applications, found on the website below, are due by May 31, 2023, and more information can be found here: UMFS.org/scholarships.

Independent Living Programs in Piedmont and Western Regions

Looking for support as you transition to self-sufficiency? DePaul Community Resources’ Independent Living program is here for you. Program staff provide guidance, compassion, and direction in navigating the difficult journey from adolescence to adulthood. DePaul has Independent Living programs in Charlottesville, Roanoke, and Abingdon. To learn more about the program in general, visit depaulcr.org/support-services/independent-living or email Carrie Elswick (celswick@depaulcr.org) with questions or referrals.

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