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EVC supports youth’s education, career goals

April 7, 2011

Youth aging out of foster care in East Tennessee receive support and assistance to transition to independent living through Youth Villages’ transitional living program.

But what about supporting their educational and vocational goals? That’s where an educational/vocational coordinator (EVC) comes in.

“In a variety of ways, the EVC complements the TL program,” said Abbie Currence, Youth Villages East Tennessee educational/vocational coordinator. “The TL specialist can focus on immediate needs of the youth as well as long-term skills, while the EVC can devote time to training for job- and education-specific needs.”

The EVC provides more one-on-one time for education and employment for youth adjusting to independent living.

Currence has been an EVC since March 2009. She assists youth in TL by providing such community resources as adult high schools, certificate programs, tutoring, job skills, internships, volunteer opportunities and other vocational programs. In addition, Currence works within the community to nurture partnerships to assist young people with obtaining job skills and opportunities.

“We try to build relationships with receptive businesses,” Currence said. “The youth we serve are motivated and looking for employment opportunities, and they need a chance. They are eager to work.”

When businesses need to hire, they can contact their area Youth Villages EVC to find suitable candidates. Cultivating relationships with area businesses and schools provides TL youth avenues to further their education and their careers, finding stability and independence. Awareness is key.

“Our young people want to go to school and care for their children,” Currence said. “They want the independence that comes with being employed or furthering their education. I look forward to more communities being aware of Youth Villages and what we do as well as how they can be more involved.”

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