Take Charge America, a nonprofit credit counseling and debt management agency based in Phoenix, has been awarded a $4,000 grant from Cox Charities to help the agency’s work with at-risk youth.
The grant will be used for a series of free financial education and life-skill workshops for Arizona youth who become old enough to transfer out of the foster care system. The workshops are designed to help participants learn useful information for entering adulthood and preventing future setbacks, even without a support system.
“While all teens need guidance when transitioning to adulthood, at-risk youth from the foster care system are especially in need of core financial and life skills,” Take Charge America CEO David Richardson said. “This grant will allow us to reach even more youth and give them the foundation from which to live independently, obtain a good job or education, provide their own food, clothing and housing – and to do so without falling into deep debt.”
Each year, thousands of Arizona youth enter foster care or the state’s child welfare system. According to the Arizona Department of Child Safety, approximately 800 will “age out” of the system this year as they reach 18.
The Take Charge America curriculum is designed for teenagers. The program, which lasts eight weeks, focuses on basic money management skills such as budgeting, saving and credit/debt management. It also covers education and employment topics such as resume writing, obtaining scholarships and how to handle job interviews.
Last year, Take Charge America offered 44 different presentations to more than 1,500 at-risk youth in Maricopa County.