WICS Home for Girls is currently the only local, community-based group home for young women who are displaced from their home for legal reasons; it has been providing these services to youth in our community since 1970. WICS works with youth to break the generational issues of criminality, poverty and to provide youth different options in the Lincoln community like sustained employment and educational opportunities.
WICS has long pursued a goal of developing an independent living program for youth successfully completing the program and transitioning to independent living and has been saving up funds to do so over the years. Unfortunately, funds we had set aside to develop the independent living program had to be diverted to keeping the doors open during the pandemic. Like so many organizations in our community, the impact of the COVID pandemic was significant for the WICS program; just staying open to provide care to girls placed outside of their home has been challenging over the past two years.
WICS has worked hard to sustain itself during this time so that youth displaced from their homes in the Lincoln community would be able to remain in their local community and still receive out of home placement and care. We would use the $100,000 to strengthen and stabilize the existing program, allowing WICS to provide additional services and experiences to youth such as job-hunting, hands-on life skills development (e.g. opening/managing bank accounts, filing taxes, etc.), searching for housing, and household finance management. We would expand WICS current group life skills offering to provide more one-on-one support in the development of these skills for the girls placed in the program. WICS would also finally initiate building the transition to independence program, which would include mentoring to assist in the passage into independent living and secondary education for young women successfully completing the WICS program, with the goal of continuing to provide support as these youth move into community life.
WICS is often a last chance for young women who are at high risk for a lifetime of poverty, substance use, disconnectedness, and incarceration. Extensive role-modeling, education, case management and work with outside therapists and teachers gives girls at WICS the opportunity to break through the trauma of their past to be on a path to a better future. Assisting the youth who enter the WICS program in transitioning successfully into adulthood and supporting them in becoming productive members of our community is primary function of the WICS program. WICS helps youth establish emotional and occupational stability, assists in the development of pro-social behaviors, facilitates family reunification (when possible) and assists with academic success.
Without the WICS program, girls from the Lincoln community needing out-of-home placement are likely to be placed in other communities. The influence WICS has in Lincoln community lies in each individual girl placed under WICS care. The small impact on each girl may be enough to change the trajectory of that girl's life, and SHE may just change the world!
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