For many young people, receiving your own gift at graduation, or having a roomful of people clap for you, may seem mundane, but for many participants in Learn and Earn, these are moments to cherish. As one participant reflects “This graduation was special because I was surrounded by people who care about me.”
Learn & Earn is Silver Lining Mentoring’s matched-savings program that supports youth in developing essential life skills, including financial literacy and employment skills, in preparation for independent living. The most recent class of Learn & Earn graduates completed 1,440 hours of learning and earned $13,580 for their participation! But perhaps some of the most important skills gained are harder to quantify.
As Colby Swettberg, our CEO explains, “Young people aging out of foster care tell us what they need, and we offer them opportunities to learn in a supportive community with one another and in connection with mentors.” Youth are matched one to one with mentor who supports them as they work toward completing the curriculum. These relationships are the core of Silver Lining Mentoring’s work. Learn and Earn is a safe space for young people, one participant noted that “I came to this group even when I was having a really hard time, and I always left feeling better. Y’all made this a happy part of our day.”
It was clear that this first 12-week cohort was a success. Participants share what they value most about this group:
“Thank you for really listening to me and my ideas.”
“I finally feel like I completed something!”
Mentors left impressed by the achievements of youth in the group; “It is amazing to see how far ahead of the game the young people who participate in this group will be for already thinking about these critical life skills”.
We are thrilled to share that many of the mentoring relationships that began in Learn & Earn will be transitioning into our community based mentoring program. We look forward to seeing what these young people can accomplish with the continued support of the Silver Lining Mentoring community.