Razing the Bar (RTB) provides comprehensive mentorship and housing support services to current and former foster youth, as well as other under resourced youth populations. The focus on relationships between mentors and the respective youth is our impetus for modifying behaviors, increasing relational networks and sustaining improved outcomes. Unlike many existing programs, when a youth is accepted into RTB for mentorship and support services the relationship does not end once the youth ‘completes’ the program. Once a program participant has been connected with RTB, we consider that connection permanent – similar to the lifelong connections made in a fraternity or sorority.
Many youth are now both growing up in as well as ‘aging out’ the foster care system; they often transition into adulthood without positive, loving relationships with adults they can count on. As these foster youth enter adulthood, they carry a greater risk of emotional and mental health issues and lack the required skills and resources to become self-sufficient. While the majority of non-foster care youth leave homes with stable and lasting emotional support from responsible and caring adults, life after foster care is daunting for former foster teens who are basically on their own.
With the goal of RTB being to improve the outcomes of current and former foster youth, one of our focuses will be utilizing the experiences of former foster youth who have overcome similar barriers. Former foster youth will be represented in RTB through both staffing and mentorship opportunities. By utilizing relative experiences, RTB believes that the youth will be more receptive to services, and more importantly, be able to experience positive role modeling from youth who rose from similar circumstances. All efforts taken by RTB will be rooted in building relationships and developing lasting communities of support. Through championing interdependent communities and focusing on relational development, we can afford under-resourced youth populations the opportunity to help others from similar backgrounds, and ultimately, lessen the burden on public systems.