Twin Falls Optimist Youth House helps teens after aging out of foster care

Since 2018, the Twin Falls Optimist Youth House has helped people ages 18 to 23 after they age out of the foster care system
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 4:51 PM MST
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The Twin Falls Optimist Youth House was recently awarded a grant from the Forever Idaho Organization.

Since 2018, the Twin Falls Optimist Youth House has helped people ages 18 to 23 after they age out of the foster care system and those from at risk homes.

“What they really need is more help, and transitioning into adult-hood, from childhood into adulthood, everything that used to be done for you, is now your responsibility,” said executive director Charles Kelly.

For those in this situation, they are able to apply to live at the youth house, understanding that it is a program, and not just a place to live.

“Our area focuses is 3 fold, so we focus on education, employment, they are expected to be employed, then independent living classes, so they are expected to attend independent living classes with us,” said Kelly.

The Youth House is a true community effort, they are not awarded any government assistance, it all comes from donations and grants, like the one they were recently awarded from the Forever Idaho South Central Program.

“The community has to create it, and the community has to support it and the community has to fund it, we really rely on those funds or this program doesn’t exist,” said Kelly.

The CEO of the Idaho Community Foundation, who oversees these grants, says it is in programs like the youth house and other non-profits that make the community what it is.

“The non-profits in each community make up such an important part of that community, they are the organizations helping to take care of the kids, to take care of the veterans, the elderly… the way I like to describe it is the non-profits are helping to weave the social fabric of the community,” said Steve Burns, the president and CEO of the Idaho Community Foundation.

Kelly says it makes a huge difference for the kids in his program.

This year’s Forever Idaho South Central grantees in the Magic Valley are:

Cassia County

Cassia County Historical Society, Inc. - $1,000

Golden Heritage Senior Center - $4,000

Simply Hope Family Outreach - $14,410

Gooding County

Children’s Museum of The Magic Valley, Inc. - $5,000

Gooding Public Library Foundation - $2,282

Idaho Diabetes Youth Programs, Inc. - $14,350

Northwest Association for Blind Athletes - $7,500

Jerome County

Jerome County Senior Citizens Service Area, Inc. – $2,000

Lincoln County

Shoshone School District #312 - $4,000

Twin Falls County

Ageless Senior Citizens - $3,000

Everybody House - $1,000

La Posada, Inc. - $4,020

Twin Falls Optimist Youth House - $4,306

Valley Housing Coalition - $4,000

Voices Against Violence, Inc. - $5,499