May 2022 News

Program Updates

Conference Wrap up

The 2022 Spring hybrid conference was a HUGE success. This past weekend, we had over 30 youth join us in person, and more joined virtually for three sessions on Saturday morning. Youth participated in IL skills sessions with engaging facilitators learning the how-tos for home repairs, car maintenance, 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 fall.

Upcoming Statewide Events

Youth Welfare Approach Training for Professionals

Date: May 11, 2022 | Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. for professionals via Zoom
A third training offering has been added! Local DSS workers and Private providers in the state of Virginia are invited to attend this training, hosted by Project LIFE and facilitated by Chauncey Strong of Strong Training and Consulting, LLC. This interactive workshop, offered on two different days, will highlight practical ways to apply the Youth Welfare Approach in service provision that effectively engage youth to be more actively involved in their case planning. Key concepts will include shifting our lens from Child Welfare to Youth Welfare and utilizing a Good-Better-Best continuum to provide service to youth. Please register to attend and reach out to George Mack with questions.

Talk it Out Tuesdays Remixed

Date: May 17, 2022 | Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. for youth via Ring Central and continuing the third Tuesday of every month
Talk it out Tuesdays is coming 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. The first topic series is “Careers and Coins.” Register once and attend as many as you want! (Note: there is a new meeting link as of Feb. 1.) Reach out to Melissa with questions.

Upcoming Regional Events

Central Region hosts “National Good Car Keeping Month” Events

Project LIFE continues to lead a small group of youth that will focus on building essential May is National Good Car Keeping Month. In light of the Transportation Assistance Program funds in Virginia and the September deadline approaching, Project LIFE has created a few learning opportunities for youth to learn more about Good Car Keeping. Contact Olivia if you have questions or need more information. Youth outside of the region are also invited to attend and can register or reach out to Olivia.

Virtual Sessions

Dates: May 5 + 19 2022
Times: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
for youth via Microsoft Teams

May 5th, youth can join us to explore how to find and buy a reliable vehicle. May 19, youth can join to learn how to keep it reliable. (This would be good for new car owners, too!)

In-Person Sessions

Dates: May 4, 11, 18, and 25, 2022
Times: different times for each day for youth
These events are for PL Youth that own cars in the Central region. Youth that can get to Richmond are invited to bring your car to meet with Olivia to learn about basics of vehicle ownership. She will show you what check on your own car right there in the parking lot. Youth will receive a maintenance schedule, list of safety items to keep in the car, and easy to follow directions for basic car issues, like tire pressure lights, filters, and fluids. Disclaimer: Olivia is not a mechanic and cannot provide diagnosis information for mechanical issues. This same session is being offered at 4 different opportunities at the same location in Richmond, VA. The exact location will be provided upon registration.

Additional Events and Resources

Statewide VDSS Check-ins

Date: May 17, 2022 | 3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. for professionals via Ring Central and continuing the third Tuesday of every month
This check-in call is 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 third Tuesday of each month, staring February 15, 2022, and will run through May 17, 2022. You do not need to register for these check-ins. You can click here at the scheduled time to attend virtually, or contact George, through email or at 804.239.1044, to receive the dial in information to join by phone, or if you have any questions. 

UMFS Scholarship Program

Application Deadline: May 31, 2022
The UMFS Scholarship program helps students who have been served by any UMFS program for at least 6 months. (This includes through Project LIFE!) Awarded scholarships pay for post-secondary education including: vocational education training, colleges or universities, including community colleges, and UMFS Courage to Succeed program expenses. Eligible youth can learn more about the opportunities and apply through this website: umfs.org/scholarships.

Attention Youth: Transportation Assistance Program (TAP)

There is a new special budget to specifically help eligible youth with transportation needs and fees, like obtaining a driver’s license, vehicle insurance, driver’s education classes and testing fees, practice lessons, practice hours, license fees, and even assistance in purchasing an automobile. If you are a youth already 15 and not yet 23, you may be eligible for this assistance! First contact your local DSS worker and tell them you’re interested in the transportation assistance program. If you get stuck, or you are a worker trying to help your youth and need help, you can reach out to Gwen Castillo at VDSS through her email address.

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