The Junior League of Napa-Sonoma
For its efforts to ease the burdens of youth aging out of foster care, an issue it’s been working on since 2006, The Junior League of Napa-Sonoma won the 2013 Community Impact Award.
To supplement the county’s emancipation plan for this forgotten population, the League developed VOICES Sonoma, a centralized hub where clients can find essential resources on housing, education, employment, and healthcare. It opened its doors in 2009 after several years of research by the League.
No aspect of this initiative went untouched by the League. Its members contributed $40,000 in seed money; funded a scholarship and solidified grants; consulted on employee management; produced monthly events; and mentored VOICES youth and staff.
As an organization truly knitted into the fabric of its community, the League received in return from VOICES education on the foster care system and its implications for youth and training on inter-agency initiatives and grant-writing. The program is guided by a multi-agency steering committee, and its staff has been relocated from 17 agencies that serve this population.
By raising awareness for the VOICES Sonoma model, the League has facilitated the adoption of similar programs throughout the county. And by partnering with the California SPAC to spread its message, it has managed to advocate on behalf of foster youth with several state legislators. To date, VOICES has provided services to more than 1,500 foster youth.