GSK IMPACT grant goes to helping those aging out of foster care

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Seven area nonprofits are building a support net for a group of people that desperately need it. Now with a $1 million grant from GlaxoSmithKline and Triangle Community Foundation, that net just got a little stronger.

“This is the perfect cooperation between a corporation and making a difference in young adults’ lives. And this is the best of North Carolina,” said Gov. Pat McCrory.

McCrory gave his stamp of approval on the grant, which is going to the Fostering Wellness Initiative. The initiative is made up of Community Partnerships, Inc., the Hope Center at Pullen, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, LIFE Skills Foundation, Dress for Success, SaySo (Strong Able Youth Speaking Out), and United Way of the Greater Triangle.

“This is going to help 500 young adults currently in the North Carolina foster system, as they age out to have the life skills, the employment opportunities to be able to be successful as they move forward,” said Jack Bailey, president of GSK.

“This group of young people, they’re more likely to be homeless, incarcerated, experience teenage pregnancy. And in addition to that, they’ll have a lot of health problems,” said Stacy Bluth, executive director of the Hope Center at Pullen.

That’s why the non-profits came together two years ago to take a holistic approach to helping those aging out of foster care.

“Health and nutrition, physical activity, affordable housing, jobs, job training, education, all of those component pieces, life skill development that all young adults need,” said Jill Bullard, co-founder of Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.

The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is the newest member of the Fostering Wellness Initiative.

“People with limited incomes do not have access to healthy foods, so they were looking to Inter-Faith Food Shuttle to provide those services,” said Bullard.

“It’s culinary-based nutrition education. You’re cooking together, you’re eating together and you’re learning about nutrition together,” said Katherine Moser, nutrition programs manager for Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.

Food nutrition is an important part of the initiative that will set those aging out of foster care on the right path for life.

“Young people, even though they’re in foster care and they have so many struggles, they are worth it. They’re worth our time, our effort, our love, our care, they’re worth it all,” said Marcella Middleton, who lived in foster care.

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