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October 30, 2011
Teaching Skills to Youths

by Harriet Karr-McDonald

To the Editor:

Re: "Deal to Help Foster Youths Find Housing" (news article, Oct. 21):

A key need of this mostly minority population of foster youths is an independent future. After living in an average of seven foster homes each, these young adults typically exit the system penniless and alone, undereducated and without work skills. All too often, they remain wards of the state, surviving on welfare benefits or in homeless shelters, or worse still, in jails and prison cells.

My experience at Ready, Willing and Able, a training program run by the Doe Fund, proves without doubt that these young people can do more than survive: they can prosper. In our residential work program, they earn a paycheck and receive skills training, learning the discipline needed to be productive members of society. They leave us drug-free, with jobs and their own apartments.

We can do more than house these young members of our community — we can help them build brighter futures.

Executive Vice President
The Doe Fund
New York, Oct. 24, 2011

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