Candice spent the majority of her career in the for-profit global consulting industry, working for major corporations such as Saint-Gobain and SAP. In 2017, she realized that the time had come for her to use her business background to benefit those who need it most. In Arizona, she found out that 50% of the youth aging out of foster care would end up homeless by their 20th birthday. A third of these homeless youth will be victim of sex trafficking. That is when she found her purpose.
For the past 2 years, she has been working towards building a program, Foster360, that helps this vulnerable population navigate through the services at their disposal to help them create a successful and fulfilling life. At Foster360, they fight for youth to avoid homelessness and sex trafficking by helping them connect with services within their community. Candice's main purpose is to create equal opportunity for all youth, regardless of their background and social status. She believes that by helping today's youth become productive members of society, the tragic cycle of poverty, homelessness and desperation can be broken to create a new generational path.
Please visit www.foster360az.org to learn more or find out how you can help. If you have any direct questions feel free to reach out to Candice at [email protected] and follow Foster360 on Facebook at Foster360AZ!
#fostercare #foster360 #foster360AZ #sextrafficking #homelessyouth #arizonacommunity #equalopportunity #poverty #podcast #InspirationwithGrulerNation #inspire #gruler #inspiration #GrulerNation #GrulerNationPodcast #gnp #arizonapodcast #scottsdale #yesphx #phx
The Gruler Nation Podcast is a show that focuses on conversations with interesting "Level 10" people passionate about changing the world with their work, relationships and ideas. The show is hosted by Robert Gruler, an attorney and founding partner of the R&R Law Group, a criminal defense law firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona focused on helping good people charged with crimes move forward with their lives.
Interested in being on the show or have a guest recommendation? Email Robert directly at [email protected] or visit www.robgruler.com for more information.
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Okay .Speaker 2:
This is episode 95 of the Gruler Nation Podcast. My name is Robert Gruler. I am joined today by Candace Liozu. Is that how they got it? Perfect. Candace , Leo , welcome to the program. I want to, before we dive into it, I want to explain a little bit about who you are and what you're doing here and what we're going to talk about. So first and foremost, you are somebody who spent kind of a bigSpeaker 1:
part of your time, a large majority of your career in the for profit global consulting industry. You've worked for a number of major corporations, a kind of global corporations around the world in 2017 though, however, so somewhat recently, you realize that at the time had come for you to use your business background to benefit those who need it. And in Arizona what you learned is that 50% of the youth aging out of foster care end up homeless by the time they hit their 20th birthday. And so you've kind of jumped into this space. You are now the program director for foster three 60. And so we're going to talk a lot about a today talk, talk a lot about foster care and some of the issues that the kids who are in this environment are facing as they progress through it. So before we dive into it, let me just say thanks for being here. Welcome. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. Yeah . So why don't we kind of start with understanding a little bit more about how you got into this space. Okay. So I know you're the program director for foster three 60, but you know, for somebody who has a career in the for profit world, for you to kind of make that change, what, you know, kind of walk us through that. What prompted that?Speaker 3:
Yeah , so , um, while I was still in the for profit sector , um , I did two things. Um, one is I became a, a certified life coach, which really opened a door, you know, to a new world for me. You know, the world of food , you know, just people who want something else in their lives. And , um, one to improve overall , uh , their lives. And the other thing is I did start feeling in need to give back to my community and I started , um, mentoring , uh , young kids. And that is something that was a total game changer for me. It made me realize that there is a world out there that we're not exposed to that we know nothing about. And , um , a word that needs our help. Right. So what happened back in , in , uh , 2017 is that , um , I hit that point and I do believe that a lot of people resonate with that. I hit that point where I thought, why am I doing what I'm doing and what legacy am I leaving behind? And that's where it all started. And , uh, in the process I decided to leave Pittsburgh where I had been for nine years and moved to Arizona with no real plan other than just be in Arizona. Yeah . And , um, as I was there, I started exploring , um, I knew that I did not want to go back in the for profit sector, at least not on a full time basis. And I decided to expand my network. And , um, as I did that, I ran into Mark Young, the CEO and president of Mesa United way. I explained to him that I had a passion for youth at risk. I explained to him that I had actually an idea of a plan and how to help them. And that's where he made me aware of the situation with using foster care and understanding that in Arizona we have so many use in our own backyard that end up homeless. Um, so after that conversation, I will tell you that , uh , it was , uh , an hour long conversation that I had with him and the rest is history. That's when , uh , we decided that we would collaborate on , um, creating this program for, you know, youth aging out of foster care.Speaker 1:
Can you tell us a little bit more about the actual problem because you know, we hear about it, we live in Arizona and we do see, you know, we see some level of homelessness, but it's nothing, any, anything at all. Like what we see some other places, like I was just in California for , um, you know, a thing that I needed to go to and we were driving from the airport and there was, I mean like tense and tense and tense . You've seen the pictures of it, of like the homeless problem in other parts of the , uh , of the country. And I, it just doesn't seem like it's at the same scale that it is in Arizona, but I'm sure that it's a massive problem here and that , uh, it's kind of one of those things that you don't, you don't see a lot of it, but just because you don't see it doesn't mean it's not there.Speaker 3:
And I was, yes, that's one of the things I was going to tell you is the homeless people we did with, you don't see them. They're not the ones panhandling at the streetlight . You don't see them. And yet they are in desperate situations. Here's the problem. So when you think foster care using foster parents, you think about a child that is, you know , brought to a foster family and there are thousands of foster families, there are many beautiful, wonderful families. Um, and you know, those are not the people we deal with. Okay. There are some children that are so quote unquote damaged, you know, by the trauma that they experienced , um, that they go from family to family, to family because it does take a very, very, very special family to be able to understand what is going on right. And they're labored with behavior issues. Most of the time these children end up in group homes. Okay. Life in group home can be very, very tough. It can be very difficult. And when they hit the age of 16, that's when the panic starts. What will I do when I turn 18? And what happens is , um, you know, I mean I have a child and I look at what I do every day and I take for granted the of skills that I teach him. You know, about how to plan for the future about how to interact with people. About how to even sink about problems in your life. They have not been modeled any of that. So they reached the age of 17 or 18 and they say that, you know, living at their boyfriend's parents' house is a viable option. They really believe that it's the best option. And we know that this is the beginning of the descent. Yeah . Okay. So within two years, you know, the parents there , at some point they're going to say, you need to leave. You know , it's just not realistic. And they end up homeless and resources. And when I started this program, one of those things, you know , as a consultant, I mean understanding, you know, analyzing a situation is pretty much something that I did for so many years is I didn't understand how there could be so many organizations serving this population. When you look at the nonprofit sector here in Arizona, there are so many organizations helping youth aging out of foster care. It's almost a buzzword at this point. Okay. And yet the children still end up homeless when they turn 18 where's the problem? And what I found is that nobody really coordinates services for these, for these teens. And so, you know, if there are lucky to have a case worker that will tell them, Hey, go to this place, they will help you with finding a job or go to this place there , help you with finding, you know, a, an apartment. Nobody does that. And if they do, it's because they're lucky. It's because they're , they're good caseworkers. So what , um , I then decided to do with foster three 60 is try to harmonize this and bring that opportunity to every youth aging out of foster care so that they all have access to all the resources that are available. So connecting the right youth with the right resource at the right time is basically what we do. And that's how, how foster three 60 was pretty much born. It's, you know, looking at where the gap was. And I, I'd love to kind of learn more about what that gap looks like becauseSpeaker 1:
it , it, you know, unless I think unless you live in it or practice in that space, it's really difficult to , to, to sort of comprehend exactly what the, what the, what that gap looks like, how big it is, what the discrepancies are. Because you know, you would imagine that these kids as they're going through, is it, you know , through their foster home, right? They've, they've got a parent, they've got a family that they're living with for a certain period of time. Are they going to school? Are they going, you know, are they getting the same type of , uh, resources or education or healthcare as, you know, as somebody who's not in that position,Speaker 3:
how big of a difference is there? So yes, they go to school and again, I am, I want to acknowledge that there are amazing families out there and they are not the ones I'm talking about. Okay . But , um , yes they go to school. But imagine a a youth anywhere between the age of eight and 18, living in a group home, a group home , being a residential home with 10 kids in it and you have to share your bedroom with someone else and all of them have some form of behavioral challenges. Okay? Think about what you would give your own child as far as supporting them with their academic life and think about what would happen in contrast in a group home. The level of support is just not the same. Okay. The level of mentoring. Um, the way I compare , um , I illustrate the problematic. Okay . Is imagine you have a child and your child just turned 17 and a half. And as a parent you're going to sit your child at a kitchen table at your kitchen table and say, listen, Robert, it was so nice to spend all these years with you. I had the blast as your parent sank you so much, but you know, you're turning 18 in six months. And my job as a parent is Dawn . So here's a piece of paper with a few resources, because you're going to need to think about going to school, meaning college, you're going to need to figure out a way to pay for it. You need to find a job because you need to eat and pay for your rent, for the apartment you will be living in. So some of the phone numbers on that list, they may not be right because it changes, but it's a good start and good luck and thank you and goodbye. He know when I do a speech, that's how I start. I invite the audience, you know, to raise their hand if they have children. And then I ask them, raise your hand if using that your child, despite all the love and support you gave them, would be successful at the age of 18 creating that life and nobody raises their hand. Right. You know, and that, but that is what we do to the kids aging out of foster care. I like your lease on your car expired and you just turn the car in and, and you're kind of on your own. You're on your own. And, and you know, the other complexity is those that live in group homes. They don't want to stay there. You know, they, they, they want to be out of the system and we try to convince them that with our help and by staying in the system because the laws changed so now you can opt back in the system at the age of 18 and stay in the system with the support, you know, that they provide until the age of 21 again, the problem is the coordination of these, you know, services that they get. So yes, to answer your question, they can receive grants and AIDS to help them pay for rent. They can receive grants and AIDS to help them pay for college tuition. So there are quite a few services out there but the point I am making is that they don't know about them. And if they know about them, they need someone that will hold their hand to same way you would hold your 18 year olds end , which parents sends their 18 year old look for colleges on their own. When you look at, you know, college season, they all go with their parents. The parents go with them, they help them make the right choice, right? So it's the same day. Need someone in their life that will guide them through the process. And when that happens, we create wonderful impact.Speaker 1:
Why do you think w so I mean the kids, as you said, you know, from 16 to 18, we're kind of in that range. They start to kind of decouple from the system. They're trying to kind of separate from their why. Why do you think that is? I mean, are they just kind of tired of it or is the fact that they , they may not have that sort of rock, that stable, you know , parent that guiding kind of anchor in their lives? Are they, why are they bailing out?Speaker 3:
It's , um, so it's all of the above in the examples that you gave. So the lack of support , uh , the lack of stability. So the, the, the kids that I'm talking, I mean, you know, some kids go through dozens and dozens of homes in their lifetime. By the time they reach the age of 18, they could have been in 30 different homes. Okay . Um, and that doesn't count, you know, those that lived in group homes. So , um , yes, absolutely. They will find themselves burned out at the end of the process. And you know, a lot of people talk about a broken system. I done locked it. I don't like to talk about these terms because um , then it makes it subjective. The system is composed of people and the system currently is composed of caseworkers that have sometimes up to 60 case , uh , cases to handle and they don't have the time. Right? So what happens is they don't feel like they received the support that they need to be able to make the right decisions. Um, there is another aspect , um, and it's, it's an underlying aspect and incident aspect that nobody really talks about that much. It's the understanding of trauma and that is something that , um, I made a point in getting educated in and we're still educating ourselves as a team. Um, it's when you have a traumatized brain, you are physiologically different. And as a service provider, you have got to understand that because otherwise you will be judging some of the reactions that you see as, you know, not wanting the help and it couldn't be more incorrect. Right . Okay. And that is the other problem is they were not treated in a way that understands them. Right. And so they are done. They're burned out. They want to be out of the system. They're done with the , you know, the case worker X , Y , Z . Not calling them back or changing caseworkers so much. Um, it, it , it's a situation where they find themselves very lonely even though they are surrounded by people, if that makes any sense.Speaker 1:
Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. I was just kind of, I was trying to diagnose why, you know, what the problem is. I mean you , you kind of had said that there are case managers that have, you know, so many cases and you know, they're just kind of overwhelmed. And then, so, you know, a lot of, a lot of people's responses are, you know , to any sort of kind of government or societal problem is to throw more money at it, which I'm sure helps. But you know, I'm not sure that that is necessarily the root cause because you can have a lot of money and you can have a lot of homes and you don't have a lot of case managers and if kids are still being bounced around or if they feel like they don't have somebody who's a, you know, a guiding light for them, if they see that there's an end to tunnel, you know, they'll kind of a light at the end of the tunnel. Like, Oh, I just have to wait until I'm 18 and then I can get outta here. Or, you know , something to that effect, then that doesn't solve the , you know, that doesn't solve the more money just doesn't solve the problem.Speaker 3:
[inaudible] it could solve part of the problem by allowing, you know, service providers , um , to do their work in a way that is conducive to empowerment on both ends. And right now we have service providers that burned a candle on both hands. Okay . Okay. And unless you can , I mean, you know that unless you can be the best version of yourself, your won't be as much of service to others. You know, as you could be. Um, so money, money definitely , uh, would, would make a difference. But , um, clearly , um, relational permanency, I like that. Okay . Relational permanency combined with the right level of trauma informed care combined with mindset, mindset shifting. Um , uh, programs will do wanders or these kids need is the guidance from a person that is there that is a constant that they can finally trust and that will allow them to experience new things that will shift their mindsets. See out there. When you, when you talk to some organizations, they will tell you that they have these life skills trainings and there are a lot of trainings for the kids. And what I am finding in the work that , um, you know , um , dr rotten from diary zona trauma Institute , um, has been teaching us is it's not about training. A traumatized brain does not get trained. They receive experiences. And if you are able to model these experiences for these children in a way that is constant, okay , you will create, you will allow them to create new neuropathways that would allow them to shift their mindset on the way they see themselves and the world around them. And at the end of the day, that is what they need. Okay. You don't need another workshop, you don't need another case worker . What they need is the stability that every young person deserves and needs. And so that is what at the end of the day, a Robert [inaudible] , it's my goal is to create a center that will allow them to get just that. Yeah . Uh , because I see how right now we are doing things. It , it , it works. I mean our navigators, what we do is we meet with our youth. We have a minimum of a weekly contact with them. Um, and we basically connect them to the resources. Right. And it works. We already see impacts. We have so far helped 60 youth and out of the 60 12 of them had issues with housing, which is a huge issue here. And we were able to get kids off the streets in, in as little as a year and a half that this program has been , uh, around. Um, so it works, but it will work better if it is in a context of a trauma informed center. Um, think about , um, so I'll tell you an anecdote. I was hiking about two weeks ago with a friend and uh, we were told that a little further up the Hill, a rattlesnake was there. Okay . So I was a little anxious, but I thought , okay, up to the point where I hear the rattlesnake snake and jump right. And I went into a panic mode and I had to tell my friend, you know, I , I can't walk right now. I'm shaking. So we waited a little bit and then he ended up telling me to do a big detour around, you know, where the snake was and the whole walk back to our car. I was completely triggered. Every single little noise made me jump and be scared. And here's the sink drei in my brain that was triggered is the exact same area as our homeless kids are experiencing. So I started thinking about, okay, so where I am right now, am I able to self reflect? Absolutely not. If someone came to me and said, you need to find a job right now, would I be able to actually sit down and say, yeah, let me think about finding a job. Absolutely not. I was in the moment unable to sink about even the next five minutes because in the moment I was so scared of having a snake bite me. This is what they're going through. But we come in and we say, listen, you're in our program, so now you need to find a job because for that you know, you having a job will help you pay for rent and pay for food. Okay? So we need to kind of do things in a reverse way where we put them first in a place where, you know, I'm seeing about my car in my car, was able to relax and start, you know, slowing down. My heart rate was going down and I was slowly gaining my functions back. Okay. And then we start thinking about a job. And I know for some people it might sound unrealistic, but I tell you that this is what is needed. This is the solution. Giving them an environment first where they can blossom, give them the ability to have their, you know, central nervous system, calm down and get back to a point where they can self-reflect, where they can start thinking about the future. And as you do that, that's the coaching, me speaking, both work on their mindset, work on their perspective and perception of the world around them and themselves, and then build a plan, you know?Speaker 1:
Yeah. I mean it makes total sense to me and it's a lot of the same, you know , things that I hear at some of the coaching things that I go to and I go to a lot of them. We were talking about, you know, one particular network prior to hopping on here and you know, a phrase that I heard their genius network was personal development proceeds, professional development. Right? And I think that's kind of what you're talking about, right? How can a young person just be expected to start? You know, you need to go find a career, you need to go do a resume, you need to go get a job, you need to go get a house, you need to do all of those things when personally, internally they're , they're broken.Speaker 3:
They think they're a failure, they sing , they're a, a weight for society. Okay. And they sing that are there worse is bagging groceries at fries . And I have no problem with baggers at Frys , but I'm saying, you know, di di di di kids that we deal with. And that is what really motivates me in doing what I do. I believe that they're the leaders of tomorrow. Imagine a corporation that needs people who have creative thinking, creative problem solving abilities. Who else? Then someone who was trained to hard way to survive could do that. Right? There is no better person, but we need to teach them to channel this in a way that is empowering. And right now they're using it in a destructive way because that's all they've been modeled. That's all they know. But there is a way to transform that, right? To transform the curse into a gift.Speaker 1:
So the, the primary function of what of what you're doing is, is to sort of aid in that transition. Is that,Speaker 3:
absolutely. So we are basically helping them , um , connect to resources that will allow them to reach their goals. Okay.Speaker 1:
And why is that? Why is that so necessary? It's , do you think it's just a Bureau like a bureaucratic problem? A , is it a resource problem? Are there not enough of those resources or they just don't know how to navigate the system? Like one hand's not talking to the other. Okay .Speaker 3:
That's exactly it. It's , it's siloed work. It's disjointed. It's people who are all overwhelmed. Um, it's , um, Dina ability to communicate in an efficient and effective way. And so , uh , we find the kids, industries that don't know about what is at their disposal for them to succeed because the services are, we talk about a broken system and , uh , you know, I will not disagree with you, but this , there is still a system and it is underutilized . And so , um, what we do is we're the glue between all of these resources and we make sure that the right resources provided at the right time. And we basically tell them what's out there, what's at their disposal, and we then help them get connected with these resources. So it's not just about, you know, like what I illustrated earlier , giving them a piece of paper and telling them to call someone. It's we will help them, we will call on their behalf and by modeling that, we then teach them ways for them to do it themselves later on. Yeah . You know, but it's really, so that's what we call navigation . So you talked about navigating the system. That's the people that work for my program are navigators and all they do is basically, you know, just connecting them and B , the , the, the single point of contact on behalf of these youth . So we're part advocates, you know , part mentors and navigators and um, we, when there are some important meetings , um, that are taking place, we attend them with them as their advocates. We help them prepare for these meetings. We do know that these, these youth, they've , most of the time they don't come in a meeting with an agenda. They just show up, you know. So I believe that we helped , we empower them with the ability to, you know , um, build an agenda. And there's this one young young lady, 17 years old, lives in a group home. Uh, and typically, you know, there are these, they're called CFT meetings, child and family team meeting . And typically she doesn't want any of her support team to be there. And this one navigator on my team shoot , she, she invited her and they worked for three hours and on the agenda she came with two pages filled. Yeah . Of what she wanted to talk about to her team. This is empowerment right there.Speaker 1:
Yeah, that's, that's amazing. How, how are these , uh , people, these children, these kids finding you, right? Because I mean, if they're, if they're kind of bailing out of the system, they're not in , in sort of hunting mode for more resources. So, you know, do what's, what's that look like? How does this connection get made?Speaker 3:
So they find us, Oh , through , um , just hearing about us. But most of the time you are right. Um , they're not in hunting mode. We find them through their caseworkers . So there are some organizations that we partner with and that really value the work that we do and that refer us. Um, th th the youth that we, we then eventually work.Speaker 1:
And in your experience, are these young people when they, when they do come to the organization, I mean, are they sort of optimistic about maybe this will be good for their future or are they, you know , fairly jaded that, you know, they've already been passed around long enough and the system has seemed to fail them, you know, in, in, in certain areas. So, so they look at you like, well, what are you going to do for me?Speaker 3:
The absolute look at us that way. And so that's why , um, for us , um, we never have D expectation to create impact right away. Um, the first phase that can take a couple months is to just build rapport, build a trusting relationship. And it starts with just helping them with small things. Um, one day , um, one of our navigators , um, helped one of our youth get connected with piano lessons. You know , uh , this past Monday, a society salon in autonic , Scottsdale did a free hair makeover day. Cool. Those things go a long way. You know, they came out of this so dignified and so proud and so happy. Um, so we, we do small things that show them that we are there for them and we listen, we do a lot of listening. Um, and we show them that we are there and then slowly they open up and slowly they start sharing about their needs. And very often they're going to be small needs and that's where we're going to help them again, we're going to connect them. And what goes along way is when the connection is successful, then you D they can tell, okay, they're here to help us. They're here to, you know, to help me. Um, they're here to support me and I'm going to trust them. And the relationships that are being created between our navigators and do youth are incredible. I mean it's such, so beautiful to watch.Speaker 1:
Yeah. I w I wanted to ask about that because you mentioned the phrase which I had not heard previously. Relational permanence I think is what you said. Permanency. Yeah. Which is, which is fascinating. I mean I had not heard that term before, but it makes a lot of sense in a number of different areas. I think actually that is probably a good diagnosis for a lot of the problems we see in the world is that a lot of people want that. They want some sort of stability. And I'm not talking about just young people, you know, I'm talking about, you know, guys looking to, to find their wives and stuff. You know, people who , who want somebody in their life who's, you know , going to be somebody that they can rely on for support. And so your organization, you know, how, how are you doing that? I know, you know , the truth , your transition into this space is fairly new, right? And so what's kind of the future look like for creating those relationships?Speaker 3:
Well, I think it's, it's going to be ongoing and, and, and the same whether it's now or in the future, but , um, the way we do it is the way you would do it with, you know, someone that comes into your life is you, you don't jump. Um, I mean, you talked about someone meeting their husband or wife. Okay . So take that as an example. I mean, when you meet someone, you go on a date, you're not gonna , you know, jump into, you know, intimacy and , and, and, and, and marriage right away, right? You're gonna get to know that person first. I mean, that's, some people do it differently, you know what I mean? So I'm talking about the healthy way of doing things right? But it's the same thing. I mean, when you think about it, I'm expecting a use to start opening up and talking to us about everything that , that went on in their life and is going on. It's a level of intimacy when you think about it, right? And they need to first understand who they have in front of them. So part of what we do is , um , it's a trauma informed approach is , um, we model self-regulation in front of the youth. So it, it involves us being vulnerable, right? So, you know, you had a bad day, you were stressed or a situation stressed you . If you open up to the youth about it and say, you know, I'm gonna take a minute here to gather myself. I'm going to do some breathing . You know, fear free to, you know, join me in this. And, and you know, by doing that you create a connection where you relate. Right? And what I have observed is little by little they start opening up and um, you know, I am training my teams on life coaching practices because active listening is critical in this process of creating a rapport , um , and creating a, a trusting relationship. But so there isn't one technique that we use, it's more of a presence test to do more with a presence than a technique.Speaker 1:
Yeah. I mean w as, as you were speaking, I was thinking kind of, there's some parallels between some programs that I'm a part of, you know , like even the 12 steps, right? You've got these 12 step programs and sort of the, you know , a lot of that in in a lot of ways is trauma based because you , you know , you're going through sort of your background, you're doing an inventory, you're making amends, you're trying to kind of clear out the wreckage of your past and you know, deal with that process that we call it, you know , peeling the layers of the onion back and getting down into the, let's get down to the meat there and see what's really going on. But you know, once, once a person has gone through that process, then part of their 12th step is to go and sponsor somebody else, you know, kind of help the next person further down the line. And you know, your organization is, is doing great work, but it's , it's fairly young, but eventually you're going to have people who've come through the program, right? And they've seen how much value it's been, right? They, they, they kind of came to your doors when they were 1617 now they've been working with you for the last three, four, five years now. Maybe they're in a position to, to join, to join or to help the next person. I mean, have you, have you considered that at all or,Speaker 3:
so ideally what I would love is for , um , as this program grows that basically our next navigators is, you know, the past clients that we have there is graduates. There is no better way. There's no better way to do that. Um, and I, I mean that is definitely part of the model. Um, once we have dissenter , um, you know, I, I will be , um, uh , looking to build at some point I would like there to be also appear a peer to peer support system so you don't have to be hired. But as you are there and your utter further stage in your progression, I would, you know, giving is healing. And I'm sure you've heard that because we know a few people in common here , um, you know, that being of service actually heals, right? And so I would want to incorporate that , um, in, in a way that would serve everybody. Right. Do use that is just coming into the program, but also do use that has been a little bit further down the road at that can start modeling as well. There's nothing more healing than that. You, you mentioned , uh , you know, a center, right? I mean, what's kind of your vision for this place? I have a big vision for this . I , I, you know, what I'm envisioning is a one stop shop , um , for kids. So being able to house them and the biggest thing that I see as the critical success factor is allowing them to be there for a while to calm down, to just know I'm safe, I'm fine. You know, and during that time just focus on educating them on what's next. Just educating them, you know , um, dr rotten in, in, in his book was talking about really , um, almost in , in not in a negative way, but indoctrinating them in, in the program that that is coming , you know, really explaining them what's coming up. Because again, we're talking to highly traumatized youth who have a hard time forming relationships in her hard time forming trust, right? So spending that time, really allowing them to know that they're safe and allowing them to just understand what's coming up. And then have a model by which we start bringing in the resources. So the idea is for all these organizations that are out there, we don't want to reinvent the wheel. We don't want to recreate the services. I want to invite those partners out there to come to our center and deliver their services there . Okay. And so it's really about creating a pathway for their lives. So you start with education, right? So where do we need to catch up on? Do we need to have a GED? Do we need to do some high school credit recovery? Uh , are you ready to go to college? Would you like to do maybe over a trade school? How about a paid internship? Right ? And as they go through this process, since they are housed, they're really having a system that slowly but surely demonstrates and models independent living. So we're talking about a , a minimum of an 18 months program, 18 to 24 months program where they would really slowly get to a point where I see parallel path happening a lot. So as they start their first job, we do mindset coaching, right? Because you need to be able to dream that life before you can even think about materializing it, right? So as they're bagging groceries at Fry's , let us see , um, mindset shifting , uh, uh, programs that allow them to dream of a better life. And then we help them to develop a plan for that better life. And we helped them connect with the right resources. And so I , I look at this center as being , um, really an emotional recovery center that would allow them to reinvent themselves, to rewrite their stories , uh , and use their past as a channel for something beautiful in the future. Not as a, you know, as a weight that you have to carry on your shoulders, which is what's happening.Speaker 1:
Yeah. I love what you just said there about it being kind of an emotional recovery center. It, you know, this is something that I think is brilliant and it, it solves a lot of problems that I think are being missed by a lot of the other major providers. I thought a lot about this when I dealing with my brother and I mentioned a little bit about this offline , uh, of , you know, about the fact that um , my brother, you know, he died by suicide in 2016 and we went through a process with him where he was in and out of treatment centers for a very long time and we were running into the same problems that it sounds like your youth are experiencing in that a lot of the providers are not communicating with one another. That's how he got hooked on opiates in the first place was because he could go to doctors and just get pills and pills and go to a different doctor and get more pills because none of the medical providers were communicating with one another. And then he goes to treatment. And it sort of, the way I explained the problem to my mom is that we're, we're trying to make a pizza and everybody has their own slices and nobody wants to contribute their slice of the pizza together so that we can, we can put all of our pieces together and have a whole pizza. Everybody just wants to just be worried about their own little slice of the pie. And then you have this miscommunication between different providers and the only person that actually suffers is the actual person. Everybody else is making money. Everybody else takes up . You know, they take a kid who's addicted to something and they throw him in the bed and they milk the insurance for so long and then he, they kick him out and they put somebody else in and he goes to a different provider. And so everybody's just kind of throwing this person around like a piece of meat. But nobody is aggregating all of these different services to become an advocate on behalf of that one final of the actual person. And so it sounds like that's exactly what you're doing, which is incredible.Speaker 3:
No. And that , that's really it. That's it. And um, the goal is to do it in a way that is scalable and repeatable. So that, that's really the trick, right? So you can go out and help one youth. Yeah . But the idea is how can we not turn this into a model that is not only repeatable for the som population. So talk about foster three 60. I would love to get expanded across the Maricopa County and at some point across the state. Right. But then what I'm thinking about is what we're doing can be applied to any vulnerable population. Yeah. It can be applied to, you know, veterans, it can be applied to homeless individuals. Even what you just talked about, people dealing with substance abuse because at the end of the day, it's all about relationships. It's all about developing the ability to form healthy and empowering relationships. And there isn't, you know, you can, you can approach it from many different ways, but it's not that difficult. But you need to look at it from a perspective of not creating impact right away, but giving it time. We are trying to do things too fast. You know, I always compare this with um , the , the cute videos. I watch them all the time too . If have these little dogs that you find in a street corner, you know, the , and then they get rescued and then you see the video, you know, kind of a fast forward of how they base the dog and treat the dog. And then all of a sudden the dog is happy in a matter of two months. And it's this, it's this, you know, a culture of instant gratification that we experienced. You can do that with a kid that's aging out of foster care. I'm sorry, we're not going to fix them in two months. And by the way, there isn't anything to fix. There's only shifts that need to happen. And for that, you need to do it in a way that is chronologically making sense. Right? And right now we're doing it differently. So right now, my navigators, they meet a homeless youth at Starbucks and they're talking about building, you know, w we don't do resumes because we help . We assign them to other resources. But you know, finding a job. Yeah . Okay. Um , or you know, looking for apartments and, and they don't know what they're going to eat at night. A third of the homeless youth are victims of sex trafficking. So think about children who were abused all of their childhood that then ended up in the streets being sex trafficked. It takes a special program to help them. And it's not going to be by, you know, seeing them once a month and telling them or giving them a phone number to call. We need to do something much deeper, much more transformational. And that's why I came. I mean, I took a huge pay cut as you can imagine to do this. Um , I've never been happier in , in my professional life and I will tell you, eh, I always said if , if I do this, it's to really make a difference and um, we will, we will get there.Speaker 1:
Yeah. And I mean, it sounds like you already are. I mean, you know, some of the numbers that you shared earlier are amazing and it's, it's so necessary. You know, a lot of people, especially at times like this, we've got Corona virus going on and everybody's worried about, you know, where they get 95 rolls of toilet paper and stuff. Like they're worried about all of these different things. And the people who get forgotten about are, I just made a video about it. You know, people who are in prison, people who are, who are , uh, dealing with substance abuse issues, the homeless, the youth, the elderly, you know, all of those sort of a forgotten about populations just get ignored anytime there's a crisis. And so, you know, the fact that you're, you know, speaking out for him , uh , 24, seven, even when there's not a crisis is, is just awesome. Um, what, what do you need in terms of, of resources, speaking of resources from, from society? I mean, is it, is it money? Do you need introductions? How can, you know , how can the world help?Speaker 3:
So , um, thank you for asking. Um, money is a , is, is a big factor, right? Um, and let me explain to you where our money goes. Yeah. Okay. Um, so we don't have a brick and mortar place where you can go and see for yourself. Right. My program is composed of humans, people who are dedicating their time to helping the youth. So I need more bodies. I need to be able to hire full time , uh, associates that come in and become navigators and they need to be a very special kind of people. They need to be people who understand trauma. They need to be people who have that fire in them to join a dynamic on the organization that will really make a difference in the lives of youth aging out of foster care. Um, so being able to , um , hire more people that provide quality work, that's really the key for me. It's, you know, it's, it's doing it right. Okay. Um, the other thing is what I'm looking for , um, for the bigger picture is truly its partners. Um, and I called them partners for a specific reason. Um, I appreciate donors, but I don't just want to take, I would like to find , um, people, organizations and true preneurs who look at this program and see a bigger picture. See a vision that really inspires them and who want to partner with us and say, look, we will bring the funds and here is the social ROI that we will be creating out of this. And I would love for them to be part of an advisory group with us and really help us build , um , this program because I know a lot of people want to be involved. It just don't want to do it. Right. And I wouldn't, that's not what I'm asking. I'm not looking for people to delegate this to, but to really people that I can partner with , um , talented geniuses that , um , really look at this and say, this is the solution and I will help you , um, make that solution real. Um, so those are things. Oh , okay. Then you, the , you know, things outside of money. Right? So other than cash , um, we're talking about properties. Yeah . Land. I mean, all those things. Even if you, you know, do a lease , um, uh, for, you know, a symbolic amount , uh, that would allow us to jumps out. Because, you know, when I talk about my dissenter , something depending on who I talk to, you know, they look at me like I'm a crazy person because they say , how are you going to find this money for it, right? Does not just have to be cash. It can be just someone that has a piece of land, someone that has a property that we could start it with. Okay . Um, we are a qualified , uh , foster care tax credit organization. So, which means that you do benefit from the dollar for dollar tax credit. Um , when you file , uh , independently, you can , um , basically receive up to $500 dollar for dollar tax rate and it's $1,000 for people who find a fine as a copper. So that's another Avenue and that is easy and it doesn't cost you a dime. It doesn't, you can go on our website and you can set it up as a monthly recurring , um, uh , donation. And it helps us tremendously. Right now our money goes outside of , um, you know, paying for people , uh, motels because since housing is such a crisis here , uh, when we have a youth that is homeless that gets, you know, transfer , uh , refer to us, we placed them in motels until we find a better option for them. This all costs money, but we can't leave them industries because we know that 80% of the youth that are industry two will be victims of sex trafficking within 48 hours of being industry. So we want them out as soon as possible. So motels and Uber, Lyft rights . So if anybody wants to give us a few gift cards, bring them on because there'll be used wisely and we never give those to the youth. We ordered the rights for them. And so this is to go to an interview. This is to go to, when we find a program for them, we find a resource, but they need to go to do an intake. We give them a, an Uber ride. If they can go by bus, we provide bus passes as well. But think about a ride that takes three hours to go. Right . Okay, you won't do that. So we give them Uber and Lyft rides . But really I would really like to start finding, I feel like our, our program now is mature enough after year and a half. We still have a whole lot of work to do and um , a whole lot of progress. But we've learned enough and we, we know enough now to really show a model that I believe will inspire people out there that want to do something for their community that want to create a, a solid social ROI. And I believe that we are a great program to partner for that.Speaker 1:
Yeah. And I, I agree. I think it's, I think it's brilliant what you're doing. And I really like the idea that you're a big thinker in terms of kind of scaling this up and taking it to other vulnerable populations because it is, you know, everybody, trauma is kind of the, the word does your, of the last, you know , half decade. Everybody's diving into it , uh , and trying to figure out, well, may , maybe the reason I am the way that I am is because I've got all this trauma that's been pent up over the years. And so working through that, I think the type of stuff that you're talking about of, of, you know, creating permanent relationships and stability and , uh, helping people just kind of, you know, transition not being a crutch for them for the rest of their lives, but giving them the skill sets and building up their own, you know, ability to, to create a life for themselves is, is , uh , is awesome. And , uh , I would like to talk to you offline about a couple additional things, but we're , let's connect, let's connect people to you. So you know, if they've listened to you, I love the fact that you've got, you've got kind of a range of opportunities that people can, can engage in to support you. You've got something big like coming and working for you or you know, donating a building or a piece of property and you've got little things like buying gift certificates for Uber, Uber rides . So basically anybody's capable of, of helping you in one way or the other. So where do they connect with you? What are the best places for them to reach out?Speaker 3:
So , um, our website is um, foster three 60 ese.org . So I'm assuming you're going to put that in the, in the comments, right. So our website is a great place. My contact information is um, uh , on our webpage so you can contact me directly. I'm on LinkedIn as well. And um, yeah, I mean those are the best ways to , to get in touch with me. My email and phone number are both on the, on the webpage foster three 60 [inaudible] dot org.Speaker 1:
Yeah. And we'll, we'll make sure all of that stuff is in the show notes, but the name of the organization foster three 60 foster three 60 a z.org. And we have Candice , Leo Xu who was here today. Candace , thank you so much for coming on. I had a great time speaking with you today.Speaker 2:
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