LiftUp Young Lives
Adopting her daughter from foster care inspired Realtor and wealth strategist Lisa Soloway to help others who were not as lucky.
“It always bothered me the number of kids that never get adopted,” Soloway said. “They age out and get sent out into the world without any guidance. And the statistics for these young people aren’t good. Many end up pregnant, homeless, or incarcerated.”
Soloway’s brainchild, LiftUp Young Lives, strives to give support to those aging out of the foster care system, experiencing homelessness, or victimized by human trafficking. Her goal was to create an experience that would promote balanced personal growth and help students unlock their full potential. When she shared her idea with Rev. Pam and Father Steve Easterday at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, they immediately offered to host the course.
While state programs help at-risk youth pay for college, LiftUp Young Lives’ classes teach skills not found in a classroom. They often help fill the gaps for those who didn’t have adult guidance along the way. The program is based on five pillars of success:
- Social skills
- Life skills
- Leadership and professionalism
- Financial responsibility
- Spiritual growth
Soloway directs the program alongside 12 board members plus 12 additional volunteers from Holy Trinity and the community at large.
Students commit to two 90-hour sessions designed to give them the tools for success as they transition to adulthood. Students learn real-life skills including good social habits, resume building, and budgeting. Each student is paired with a mentor and sessions are interactive. The program teaches students to be intentional — to define the life they want and to create the roadmap to achieve it.
In addition to attending weekly sessions, students perform community service, read personal growth books, and create an individualized life plan. To help them continue to succeed, after completing level 1, students are gifted a Microsoft laptop computer. Graduates of the program receive a reliable used car.
“These students are earning their car, they are earning their computer,” Soloway said, “but they are also earning a better life.”
LiftUp Young Lives is subsidized through a combination of donations, simple giving programs such as Dlyted.com and ChangeBowl.com, and the board’s unique take on FUNdraisers. The organization hosts four fundraisers each year. Past events have included murder mystery dinners and golf tournaments. They always welcome donations, sponsorships, and community participation at their fundraising events.
LiftUp Young Lives graduated three students in May. The graduates all plan to go into fields where they can give back. A new session begins in August.
LiftUp’s mission is to transform lives. “We want our students to know their past doesn’t equal their future. They are in control of their future.”
LiftUp Young Lives
You can help support LiftUp Young Lives through everyday purchases.
- Visit Dlyted.com for e-gift cards to places you already shop. Between 2-30% goes to LiftUp.
- Round up purchases at ChangeBowl.com and set a monthly amount to give to LiftUp.
LiftUp Young Lives is entered in the State Farm Neighborhood Assistance grant program to win $25,000. You can vote for them at neighborhoodassist.com between Aug. 14-23.
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