Volume I | April 01 2020
Week 1: Where are you going to live?
Can you imagine being asked this question coming out of foster care on your 18th birthday? It's hard to imagine and yet it's often the first question our clients at Ready for Life Brevard (RFLB) are faced with as they are suddenly considered adults.

In this issue of Building Roots, you will get a virtual tour of our unique, family-like community center and hear a song called "Don't Give up on Me" by a friend of RFLB, Brad Brewer. Finally, witness the true story of a journey from trauma to triumph as one of the first clients at Ready for Life Brevard finds stability and home, planted by one woman and now surrounded by many to help him grow.
A Virtual Tour of RFLB
Our mission at Ready for Life Brevard is to provide support, resources and guidance that youth in foster care need to transition to adulthood. For more information, visit our website here.

We are immensely grateful for this space which was graciously donated for 15 months by Brevard Health Alliance. Thank you!!

com·mu·ni·ty : a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals

Don't Give up on Me
Music & Lyrics by Brad Brewer
Recorded Live for RFLB

At Ready for Life Brevard, we are a place of never-ending second chances. The youth RFLB serves exit the foster care system regardless of their housing situation, support system or having what they need to be successful on their own.

By leveraging community resources and volunteers, we do everything in our power as many times as necessary to help fill in life skills, learning gaps and remove barriers so the youth can reach self-sufficiency.

To address the growing housing crisis, we've partnered with the Housing Authority of Brevard County (HABC) who have worked tirelessly to help us secure Housing Choice Vouchers through the Federal Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) Program . Through these outstanding efforts, RFLB is proud to report 4 clients who have attained a Voucher and 4 who are currently in the process!

Read more about the alarming connection between former foster youth and homelessness in this recent article: Youth Today
"Without Ready for Life, I would still... I won't have a home. "

Devon says this from my couch, his eyes intent on expressing the seriousness and authenticity of these thoughts.

"And I wouldn't have the great attorney that I would have today!" he says with pride.

Devon is talking about Ms. Pam. One of the few people before Ready for Life Brevard he'd ever trusted.

When Pam Bress first met Devon, he was sixteen. He was living in an adult assisted living facility for Dementia patients due to the lack of youth housing to address his particular needs. Other than a place to live, he did not have any peer interaction or help with transitioning into adulthood.

Over the next seven years, as Devon's court appointed lawyer, Pam was unknowingly being educated as to the massive gap between Devon's needs and the care available to him as he was transitioning to adulthood. It was not difficult for her to see how vulnerable he was- that if she left him to fend for himself it would lead to sure disaster- homelessness, jail, maybe even death. And so began almost a decade of learning what was needed to fill those gaps, for Devon and hundreds more like him.

Today, Devon is on a successful path to interdependence. He lives with 2 roommates thanks to being one of the first FYI voucher recipients in Florida. He's been through a Vocational Rehab program and was recently hired to detail cars. He is a valuable teammate on his Special Olympics soccer team. He likes construction, video games and has a dream to learn video game design. He has a faithful mentor whom he likes, trusts and relies on frequently.

Before Covid-19, he came to visit us at RFLB often to get bus passes, talk about life, give hugs, eat my tuna, and then carefully wash the container where I would find it sitting neatly by the sink to dry. Now we are checking on him by phone and text. He has a huge heart and is a fierce protecter of those he cares so deeply for as we are of him.
Pam spent ten years representing these youth and learning about the positive impact wraparound services provide for guys like Devon.

Today, Pam is our courageous leader and the director of Ready for Life Brevard where she educates and inspires us to join the roots she's given so much of herself already to build. Each of us who are privileged to be a part of these roots and bear witness to the daily miracles unfolding at RFLB are learning what Pam has witnessed and the youth she cares so much about have lived.

We're learning together this mission can be difficult and all-consuming, it requires a constant shifting in perspective, letting go of judgements and preconceived ideas of who is deserving of what, to the mercy-filled actions born out of the belief that all are worthy of a sense of home- a community built and wrapped around with grace, respect and unconditional love.

It was Pam's unequivocal sense of justice and compassion and that have brought us here. It will take all of us, staff, volunteers, and the community working together for compassion, respect, and unconditional love to show our young adults the way to make their own good home.

Currently, there are 18 young adults seeking services through RFLB. Together, we have the power as a community to join these unconditional roots of love. With you, we can continue empowering Devon and all who come through our doors to thrive, grow and become the incredible adults they are meant to be.

See our list of Urgent Needs below and become an essential part of our Roots today!

HUGE THANK YOU to those of you who have donated already, we wouldn't be where we are without you! www.readyforlifebrevard.org