After more than two years of community-based, youth-driven planning, Project Everlast Lincoln began offering services in October of 2014. Looking back over the first year of implementation, Nebraska Children is pleased to see that we’ve had the opportunity to serve more youth than we thought we could.
What is Project Everlast Lincoln (PEL)?
PEL is a coordinated network of services designed to provide help with housing, basic living skills, education, employment, transportation and health care to young people who are aging out of foster care without families.
“What’s truly innovative about the Project Everlast model is that it doesn’t reinvent the wheel,” said Betty Medinger, Vice President at Nebraska Children. “We are able to bring the community together, harness the strengths that are already present, and work together to expand services to this unique audience of young people.”
A strong backbone
Consistent with the conditions of Collective Impact, the PEL model relies heavily on backbone support provided by Nebraska Children. In its role as a backbone organization, Nebraska Children coordinates efforts of partners, ensures the sharing of data, and sources private/public funding to ensure that efforts are sustainable. Why is this important? A solid backbone organization makes it possible for the partners to do what they do best — provide services.
The year in numbers
- 66 youth received Need-Based Funds to help them through emergencies
- 62 youth used common referral services
- 34 youth participated in Opportunity Passport(TM) to receive financial literacy training and savings match to pay off debt or purchase a car, education, home or other critical asset
- 83 youth currently on wait list for Opportunity Passport
- 12 youth placed in safe, affordable housing
- 6 youth received family finding services
- 12 current members of the Project Everlast Lincoln Youth Council
The premise of the Project Everlast model is to fund and coordinate partners who already have experience and processes in place providing certain services. In Lincoln and Southeast Nebraska, we had several ready made partners available that provide an outstanding level of services. Nebraska Children has been honored to work with these outstanding partners to build a system of care for older youth aging out of the system:
- The HUB coordinates the Needs-Based Fund and provides centralized service referrals
- Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties administers Opportunity Passport, and related education
- CEDARS provides housing assistance and help for pregnant and parenting youth
- Christian Heritage handles family finding services
- Blue Valley Community Action Partnership covers the needs of youth outside of Lancaster County
What’s coming up
PEL has applied for special funding that will establish a Career Pathways model that will provide job readiness training for PEL participants