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Programs:

The AOK Scholars program recognizes that young adults who turn 18 while in foster care deserve the same educational opportunities as their peers. AOK Scholarships are awarded to those currently or formerly in foster care who display academic promise and motivation to complete a post-secondary program (two or four-year college or a vocational training program leading to a credential), but require assistance to mitigate barriers related to basic necessities, academics and personal development.

Click here to learn more about AOK Scholars.

The Legacy Mentor Program pairs teens ages 18 and under with a positive role model in the community. These mentors come from many walks of life, some of them having little to no experience within the foster care system, and others giving back after spending years in foster care themselves.

Mentors do not serve the same role as a case manager or foster/adoptive parent. They have a unique role as a supporter with an outside perspective. As is proven time and again, a mentor’s simple willingness to spend time with and listen to our youth with a compassionate heart often provides the stability and acceptance most needed by our kids.

Click here to learn more about the Legacy Mentor Program.

The independence that comes with learning to drive is seen by many teens as a rite of passage; however, there are many barriers youth in foster care must overcome before they can reach this goal. Limited discretionary income, lack of access to a vehicle to practice on, and independently obtaining insurance are just a few of the factors that make obtaining a driver’s license seem like a far off dream.

The Keys to Independence program, which is managed statewide by Embrace Families, is a first-of-its-kind program designed to lower these barriers. This program reimburses youth and their caregivers for the costs associated with driver’s education, standard fees and other costs related to getting a driver’s license, as well as motor vehicle insurance.

Learn more about how to apply to this program at www.keystoindependencefl.org.

Learn more about the Vehicle Loan Risk Pool established to assist youth who have been in the foster care system in obtaining auto loans by clicking here.

Embrace Families works to prepare teens in foster care for the jobs of the future through the High School High Tech (HSHT) program, in partnership with The Able Trust. 

ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL HIGH TECH

In Florida, The Able Trust’s HSHT program serves as a career and academic resource for young people with documented learning or physical disabilities.  In Central Florida, this valuable enrichment program, managed by Embrace Families, is tailored to address the individual needs and interests of teens and young adults in foster care.

HSHT encourages high school students in foster care to explore careers in high-demand, emerging and growing industries, as well as related post-secondary education and training options.  Career exploration is hands-on, including participation in exciting activities which take place after school and on the weekends. Participants meet twice per month for activities such as field trips, soft skill development, campus tours and job shadowing.

ABOUT VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION

For young people with documented disabilities, additional intensive support and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is also available through Embrace Families.  

Florida’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program serves youth with documented disabilities as they transition from school to work.  In partnership with The Able Trust’s HSHT program,  VR Transition services help students who have graduated high school prepare for and find meaningful employment.

Under this program, participants have the opportunity to participate in sponsored career counseling, work readiness training, and full integrated work experience in the community.  Services start while the student is still in high school, establishing a foundation for seamless transition training, education and employment based on individual skills and interests.

PROVEN RESULTS

Now in its third decade, research shows that involvement in the HSHT experience reduced high school drop-out rates, increased enrollment in post-secondary institutions and increased participation in educational, vocational and employment-related activities. On a more personal level, involvement has shown to increase the overall confidence of participating students and to boost expectations for their future success. 

GET INVOLVED

To learn more, explore if this is a good fit, or refer a young adult to HSHT, contact Amber.Barrett@EmbraceFamilies.org or 407.600.4204.

ABOUT OUR PARTNERS

Florida HSHT is a program of The Able Trust, in partnership with the Florida Department of Education, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and local organizations, including Embrace Families.

The Able Trust  funds more than 35 High School High Tech sites throughout Florida, serving youth with disabilities in high school. Our site is unique in that we operate throughout Orange, Osceola and Seminoles counties exclusively to serve youth in foster care. In 2013, The Able Trust recognized Embrace Families’ HSHT program as the Public Organization of the Year.

Click here to learn more about High School High Tech..

Our ultimate goal for our kids is that they have the same opportunities for long term success and advancement as their peers. Through the Embrace Families Career Builder program we work to introduce working age young adults in the foster care system to a variety of career options, and to open doors to help them achieve their career goals.

Through a partnership with Career Source Central Florida, we facilitate paid summer internships and apprenticeships for our youth in targeted fields, particularly the skilled trade industries. In addition, a dedicated career advocate, funded by Career Source, works year round to help with job placement for youth who have finished high school or have achieved their GED.

For more information about this program, please email youthservices@embracefamilies.org