BSW Senior Advocacy Project
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Social Work Class of 2013 (BSW) recently completed a project for youth aging- out- of- care. Professor Mark Quam challenged these students in Social Policy Analysis II to create an advocacy project and implement it in the community.
Each year, approximately 350 youth “age out” in Wisconsin. Agencies handling the Independent Living programs statewide have experienced drastic budget cuts, impacting these youth dramatically. Many agencies have nothing tangible to provide these youth as they transition into society. Several of the Social Work students work directly with these youth at their internships and advocated for a suitcase program, similar to the one in Big Families of Michigan, which Jeanne Fowler, past guest speaker at UW-Green Bay, designed.
The Class divided into several teams for this project. Data and statistics were gathered to create an awareness flyer; Community resource information was used to create community resource packets (by county in the Northeast WI); Creation of cardboard silhouette “cut-outs” were fashioned to increase awareness of this issue; and Obtain suitcases and donations which were then donated to youth who were aging-out. The project was named: “Life Begins Here”, which entails a suitcase filled with a multitude of items such as: gift cards; household items like towels and dishes; hygiene products; and community resource information folders. Empty suitcases were used to display project information. Silhouettes containing a pocket filled with awareness brochures were displayed throughout the community. At the end of the project, seven (7) full suitcases were assembled and given to local agencies working with these youth.
The Wisconsin Foster and Adoptive Parent Association (WFAPA), which is a non-profit association that works with Foster and Adoptive parents and children throughout the state, has partnered with the Social Work Class to continue this project. WFAPA’s help will give the project sustainability. If you are interested in more information about WFAPA or want to donate to “Life Begins Here” visit the website at www.wfapa.org.