What Happens When Kids Age Out?
One of the most vulnerable times in a person’s life—whether here in the U.S. or around the world—happens right after graduation. Specifically, graduating from foster care or an orphanage into adult living can be scary and unpredictable.
People like you make it possible for kids like Sam to graduate with confidence. Here’s his story—
Meet 18-year-old Sam
Sam is from the Takeo Province in Southern Cambodia, known for its partially flooded rice fields, hard-working fisherman, and many waterways that cut through the countryside.
He grew up wandering through this countryside, doing whatever he pleased.
In 2015 Sam met Pastor Mony who shared the Gospel with him. By God’s grace, Sam accepted an invitation to move to the church children’s home—which was closer to Sam’s school—so he could study the Bible and learn to know God better. In his words—
When I came here, God changed my life.
Because Sam wishes someone had told him about Jesus when he was younger, he’s now attending university in Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh, so he can be a teacher and tell children about God. Sam’s dream is to teach students who are poor and can’t afford school. He wants to reach those who are easily overlooked or forgotten.
He currently spends his weekends traveling into the villages and sharing the love of Christ with everyone he meets.
His greatest desire is that more of his country would know God.
You are a critical part of Sam’s success story. Without your prayer and support, kids like Sam would fall through the cracks.
Why transitional support matters
We believe God intended all children to grow up in a safe and loving Christian family.
Unfortunately, life in a fallen world means there are many children who grow up without the love of family, and many of these kids eventually age out of care without life skills or a support network to navigate adulthood.
Think of your own transition to adulthood. Who taught you how to create a resume and find job opportunities, or how to cook and care for yourself? Most importantly, who taught you how to love and grow in your relationship with God and other people?
Skills like these don’t just happen; they’re taught.
And without these skills, many young people don’t survive … or survive in heartbreaking ways.
According to Scott Brown, Coordinator of the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) Aging Out Initiative, as many as 70% of young people in the U.S. and around the world who do not have the support of family fall into homelessness, trafficking, substance abuse, crime, early pregnancy, and incarceration.
Someone has to care enough to mentor young adults like Sam.
Your part in Sam’s story
In 2016, Sam was one of the first children to move into the home in Cambodia when it opened. Since then, with consistent loving mentorship, he has become an important part in establishing a family environment and providing leadership. He continues to act as an older brother to the rest of the children, leading by example and serving others.
With your continued support, every child we serve will experience love and support as they transition into adult living.
In Zambia, for instance, we offer a vocational school with programming in career fields like mechanics and agriculture. Additionally, our students are given a gap year after graduation to receive further one-on-one mentorship and training. In Ukraine, we offer group and personal discipleship in a family setting with Christian houseparents where orphan grads can build strong relationships with God and the Church.
Lifesong Farms in Zambia and Ukraine allow our graduates to receive spiritual care and mentoring, while building life skills that will carry them into a brighter future. In Guatemala and Bolivia we are working to develop equally effective Christ-honoring transition opportunities.
With your help, we can reach more students like Sam with the love and support they need at one of the most critical times of their young adult life, enabling them to pursue God’s best for their future.