For the last 8 months Man Up Tampa Bay has engaged in a pilot program aimed at breaking the chains of generational fatherlessness among those who have aged-out of foster care.
Who are these men? They are young men ages 18-24 who have spent at least some time in foster care and are growing into adulthood. Statistics tell us that these young men (and women!) are at far greater risk for negative societal outcomes than their peers who did not encounter foster care. For instance,
- 1 in 2 are homeless1
- 90% with 5 or more placements have encountered the justice system2
- 1 in 2 are unemployed3
These realities stack the deck against these fatherless young men in ways that most of us cannot understand. To really understand their reality we must enter into it.
This is what Man Up is doing with our Authentic Masculinity Program – domestic. One of the biggest ways we can help these young men is to provide them with an opportunity to work. Not only does this help them financially, but they are living out a God-ordained calling to provide for themselves.
This past weekend we invited some of the young men up to the Ranch to hear how a former aged-out foster kid used his circumstances as motivation to propel him forwards. That “kid” is now a grown man who sold a business up north with over 100 employees cutting 4000 lawns each week. Man Up is partnering with him to offer lawn care training to our young men at the Ranch.
We also spent time just hanging out and furthering the relationship by doing what every red-blooded American male wants to do – RACE! We had a fantastic time go-karting, talking trash to one another, and asking the young men about their summer plans, what goals they have, and how we can pray for and encourage them.
This program is designed to break the chains of generational fatherlessness, so we’re just getting started. The relationship—earning and keeping trust— is the most important thing.