Paul Smith Independent Living Fund
When Paul Smith, an original Bair board member passed away in 2008, The Bair Foundation received donationsi n his memory. Creating the Paul Smith Independent Living Fund enabled us to provide matching funds (up to $1,000) to Bair teens towards the purchase of a vehicle.
Lack of transporation is one of the biggest hurdles a teen aging out of foster care has to overcome. As they leave high school, whether they go right on to work or on to higher education, they need a means to get there. Yet a vehicle is such a big expense - and an ongoing expense - that few foster youth in high school are able to cover on their own. Foster youth who have their own vehicle have increased independence and employment success.
Recipient Andrea Ballard writes, "Thank you so much for giving me the thousand dollars I received for my vehicle. This money was SO helpful and I was so grateful to receive it. If it wasn't for you guys, I wouldn't be able to get this car. Again, thank you SO MUCH and may God bless!"
It is absolutely crucial that we provide young people with the tools and give them every opportunity to successfully transition out of foster care and into adulthood. The extra steps we take today will ultimately affect their future and society as a whole.