TLF makes an impact because its founder, team, and volunteers, live out what they believe and speak. Their words are backed by action. The impact they have affects not only foster youth but their foster families and expands to the greater community. Their model for leadership camps and mentoring is so effective that many other groups are asking for TLF's help. TLF is building up an entire generation one youth at a time.
As a volunteer, I have really enjoyed the opportunities available to interact with foster teens from various group homes. Summer camp was a great first step to getting involved. I was blown away at how "normal" the foster teens were at camp. They seemed liked normal, everyday teenagers, smiling, laughing and playing. There are other great opportunities for volunteers and foster teens to get involved with TLF on a monthly basis. Programs such as monthly fun activities, one on one mentorship, group home mentorship and a wonderful, practical, hands-on program called Path of Life, which kids are taught basic practical life skills such as how to open a checking account, how to cook, or how to shop healthy. I am excited to be apart of such a wonderful organization and look forward to serving in even a greater capacity.
Teen Leadership Foundation approaches teens who have been abused not as broken people who deserve lowered expectations, but as the strong, courageous people they are. TLF begins with the premise that every foster teen has the potential to achieve success. TLF believes in kids so the kids can believe in themselves. Young people who believe they have worth and value make better choices. Better choices lead to better results. I also find the TLF business model very impressive. TLF does not exist to build itself into some powerhouse. Thousands of kids annually are powerfully influenced by volunteers (which makes the influence for kids all the more meaningful) and 2 paid staff. Remarkable.
I've been a full-time Chaplain working with At-Risk youth for 27 years. The people and programs I've encountered with Teen Leadership Foundation over the past several years are a huge blessing to me and "my kids." Having a camp/program designed uniquely for At-Risk youth has proven to meet their needs so much more effectively than a standard camp. I've seen kids benefit from their weekend TLF experience far more so than a standard weeklong camp. And, and immense added blessing, is the amazingly low cost to us, because TLF depends on God to provide through generous supporters. If not for this, most of our kids would not be able to attend any Christian camp at all. I highly recommend TLF for all At-Risk youth, and to anyone who wants to support or volunteer with an effort that God uses mightily to bless what society may see as "the least of these."
Teens who for various reasons, are not able to live with their biological parents, and find themselves Dependents of the Court System, are often labeled by various terms: at-risk youth, group home kids, troubled teens, juvenile delinquents. What they need more than anything is a glimmer of hope! Kids who are today a part of the state foster system, are the modern day orphans. Some are truly without parents or family. Others are from homes where they're experience physical and/or sexual abuse or neglect. Others have parents who have chosen drug use over good parenting, and/or one or more parents are in prison. Short of actually becoming a foster parent, spending time with hurting kids at camp is the quickest and most effective way to let them know that there is hope... that someone cares.
When a young man or woman emancipates, many TLF volunteers remain either close to them. Everyone can do something: the existence of Teen Leadership Foundation is a Godsend! To join with this effort is to join with God, loving the fatherless! Start today: www.teenleadershipfoundation.org/donate
Most sincerely, MSW, OC
Foster teens in our country are one of the most overlooked people groups in our communities. They often feel neglected, depressed and alone. They are kids in our community that desperately need our help and support. Foster families need to be supported and helped as they take on this important job of caring for and loving foster teens. Sometimes being a foster family can be overwhelming and hard work.
Having a safe place for foster teens to go to like Teen Leadership Camp is such a blessing to the teens as well as the foster family. The foster teens are blessed by camp and in turn it also blesses the family caring for the youth.
As a foster mom who was able to send 3 of my teens to Teen Leadership Camp for 2 summers now I was able to see firsthand all the good that came from taking part in is camp. it was a really great experience for the kids. They had the opportunity to get away in the mountains for 3 days, with peers and great counselor/role models. They loved the ropes course and team building activities and well as the special speakers and the opportunities to share their story with other teens who have gone through the same kind of things. Camp was a mountain top life changing experience. Something that so many foster kids need and few get the opportunity to experience. The program is well planned. The teens have lots to do over the 3 days, and when it is time to go home, they are all emotional because of the positive impact the camp has had in just a few days. The camp is very positive for all involved and makes a positive impact on the youths lives, that will last a lifetime.
I am thankful for the many blessings this camp gives these kids and all those who are lucky enough to be involved! Please ask how you can help bring more camps to your community, county, state!
You’re needed: www.teeenleadershipfoundation.org/donate
was born and raised surrounded by alcohol, drugs, and sex by the time I was 5 years old and was basically the mother of my 3 younger siblings (so I felt). One day my mom abandoned me at school. My teacher took me home, and after a few days called child protective services. I was sent to foster care. That was 10 years ago!
After some time being in foster care I got the opportunity to attend Teen Leadership Camp (TLC). I just had my 18th birthday and this past summer was my last time attending TLC. Each year I was able to see the same counselors. I look forward to camp each year; it’s a community of people who really care about you. Each year as camp ends we all make a pact to see each other again in one year. My first year at camp my counselor and I really bonded and she has been a mentor ever since. As my last year of school ends and I am exploring the direction of life she is right there with me with each decision. She has been the one consistent person in my life for 4 ½ years now.
My life has changed in so many ways from the Teen Leadership Foundation. You can be a part of changing a life like mine.
-become a camp counselor – become a long term mentor- provide resources for teen leadership foundation to add more camps
Elissa; Former TLC camper and emancipated youth
In 2009, 29,471 children across the U.S. aged out of foster care without an identified support system. Of the children who are not adopted by the age of 18, 32% will rely on public assistance, and 27% of males and 10% of females will become incarcerated, 60% will be homeless within one year.
Most people who consider adopting school-aged children rarely consider adopting a teenager. The Teen Leadership Foundation brings meaningful long lasting relationships to teens in foster care. As a representative of many who are on the frontlines bringing child welfare and protection to these youths I support Teen Leadership Foundation for many reasons.
*Their camp (teen leadership camp) and mentoring programs bring a bright future full of love and support and a real sense of belonging.
*The weekend places the beginnings of healing and hope and dramatically changes the course of live for a teen in foster care.
*Our youth come out of camp with a real sense of change, goal setting and a purpose in life.
This season and for many more please join me in brining financial sustainability to the Teen Leadership Foundation. You are needed now: www.teenleadershipfoundation.org/donate
Southern California Child Welfare representative
As a pastor who is active in working with foster teens in our community, I have truly treasured my relationship with TLF. Its founder, Lisa Castetter, is a hands-on director who works tirelessly in supporting foster teens. TLF is able to bring churches and other non-profits together to join forces in making a difference in these young people's lives.
I can't say enough great things about Teen Leadership. Their founder, Lisa Castetter, is an incredible visionary with the knowledge and ability to implement that vision into tangible results. The amount of foster teens the organization is able to reach (deeply) each year is remarkable. I'm honored to be a part of this great idea and excited about its future. -CJ Casciotta