Optimist Youth House

Aging-out happens when a child in foster care turns 18. Theses kids are deemed adults and are no longer provided help under Child Protection Act. To date, 24 youth have aged-out of foster care in our area since January 1, 2015. Many have spent a significant amount of their childhood in a foster home or a group home. These young adults rarely have a driver’s license, employment experience, or simple skills such as doing laundry or cooking. Some of our aged-out youth are developmentally delayed and have limited life skills to survive within our community. The National Youth Transition Database surveyed youth in Idaho at the age of 19 and again at 21. It was reported that 47% of the 21 year-olds that had aged-out report they have been homeless over the last two years. Less than half of the youth finish high school and less than 2% obtained a college degree. This database reported 1 in 4 have been incarcerated within 2 years of aging out. Currently, the Magic Valley doesn’t have a place for these youth. These young adults need the support and guidance of our community to ensure they are successful and can thrive as active members of our society. The members of the Twin Falls Optimist Club have identified 239 3rd Avenue North in downtown Twin Falls as a suitable location for a home for these youth. The building is currently owned by Twin Falls County and the County Commissioners have been supportive of this project. We anticipate the remodeling costs for this property will be approximately $115,000. The Twin Falls Optimist Club has approved $20,000 for this project and other community leaders such as Plant Therapy, Brizee Heating, Rainguard Roofing, Lytle Signs, Snake River Plumbing, Magic Valley Home Builders Association, L & W Supply, Scholes Dermatology, South Central Community Action and Franklin Building Supply have agreed to help. We are in the process of developing a complete plan for the operation of this home. We have a good relationship with JEM Friends, an organization that runs 3 similar homes in Boise. Please contact us if you’d like to help. We’d be delighted to take you on a tour of the house.