Aging out of foster care is full of complexities; Safety Net InlandNW is there to lighten the load

click to enlarge Aging out of foster care is full of complexities; Safety Net InlandNW is there to lighten the load

Young Kwak photo

Safety Net co-founder Molly Allen.

When Molly Allen and Coleen Quisenberry first met, they had a common goal in mind: to help Spokane’s foster community in any way they could.

Both women are mothers and understand the complexities that come with growing up and becoming independent. Allen has direct ties to the foster care community, having adopted her son out of the foster care system when he was 10 years old.

“I realized that he wouldn’t be ready to be on his own by 18,” Allen says. “Coleen agreed, and that’s where the idea for Safety Net started.”

Then, through meetings with local foster care organizations and families, the two co-founders of Safety Net InlandNW quickly understood that most foster youths turning 18 were underserved and had nowhere to turn once they aged out of the system.

“That solidified to us that it was time to bridge that gap,” Allen says. “We created a literal safety net, filling in the spots that government agencies can’t or providing resources that are harder to come by.”

GET INVOLVED!
Safety Net InlandNW is always in need of furniture, kitchen items, cleaning supplies and other miscellaneous things that don’t often get donated. Visit safetynetinlandnw.org for a detailed list of donation requests and to learn more.

Safety Net focuses on helping young adults become independent after leaving foster care by acting like an extended family of sorts, helping with gas money or college expenses. Allen says most foster youths are still supported by their foster families once they age out, but Safety Net is another shoulder to lean on if things get tough.

When young adults have aged out of foster care, they can submit forms that explain exactly what they need to forge a successful path into their future. From furnishing new apartments to paying for school books, Safety Net has provided a host of services and resources for emerging adults.

“We’ve provided laptops and books,” Allen says. “We even helped someone get a new front tooth once.”

In the 14 years since its inception, the organization has expanded into Idaho. Along with case-by-case wish granting, Safety Net also owns two warehouses; one in Spokane and another in Post Falls. The two buildings are filled with new and gently used household items so that the young adults can pick and choose what they would like to furnish their new spaces.

“None of this would be possible without the local community’s desire to help out,” Allen says. “Our warehouses are always stocked because of their donations.” ♦

Article Source: Inlander