Mile High United Way has proactively closed our physical office until March 30th, but all of our services including 2-1-1 will be running at full capacity. Please dial 2-1-1 to reach our community resource center.

Bridging the Gap

Connecting young adults exiting the child welfare system with housing and personalized supportive services that guide them as they transition to adulthood.

As young people transition out of the child welfare system, the majority are unprepared for adult life.

They don't have the support system of a family or social network. As a result, they are more likely to face crime, violence, and poverty – putting them at increased risk for becoming part of Denver's homeless population.

The Hard Truth

23%

of foster youth will graduate high school on-time in Colorado.1

50%

At age 24, only half are employed.2

1/3

have been homeless for at least one night since leaving foster care.2

25%

have run into trouble with the law within two years of leaving foster care.2

1. Colorado Department of Education, 2017

2. Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth: Outcomes at Age 26 (Courtney et al. 2011)

Mile High United Way’s Bridging the Gap program works one-on-one with young people ages 18-24 who have exited the child welfare system.

Independent Living Coaches work with program participants to provide critical housing resources with a 36-month Family Unification Program housing voucher and trauma-informed coaching.

Coaches also help youth pursue employment, access education, learn about financial health, and set wellness goals.

When participants have stable housing in place, youth can focus on other goals like furthering their education and building a strong support system for themselves and their children.

How the Program Works

Stable Housing

Youth are provided with a 36-month Family Unification Program (FUP) housing voucher to start their adult lives in a safe place.

Workforce Development

Through career weeks, mock interviews, job internships and more, participants are given the tools to try to find and keep a job.

Post-Secondary Education

Coaches help youth discover all the options available, and prepare them for success as they pursue their goals.

Financial Stability

Through classes and coaching, we work with youth to establish healthy financial practices that will lead them on a path to sustainability.

Wellness

Youth leaving foster care may have mental health or developmental needs that coaches address by helping youth find supportive community resources.

Community Connections

Coaches help youth set goals and access skill-building opportunities, reviving a sense of hope for the future that many had cast aside.

Mile High United Way Independent Living Coaches are paired with the youth providing them with support, advice, and the tools they need to set and achieve their goals around housing, workforce development, education, and more.

View the Program Infographic

Our Impact

Bridging the Gap's Infant and Toddler Community

The Infant and Toddler Community program provides more holistic support to parents and their children. Parents meet weekly with their group, while their children play safely nearby. The childcare component provides structure and routine for parents and children; both critical for healthy development.

From Lost to Found: Finding My Voice After Leaving the Child Welfare System

With the support of our Bridging the Gap program, Gloria has gone on to become an advocate for other youth existing the child welfare system.

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Bridging the Gap Youth Graduate Career Development Training

In October 2019, Mile High United Way’s Bridging the Gap program hosted professional development events for young people exiting the child welfare system.

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Antoinette

"Even if it seems like it's hard," says Antoinette, "don't give up."

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Gloria

“I will do my best for [my kids] to see me do it, so that they can actually say, ‘Mommy did it; I can do it too.’”

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Torica

She Believed She Could, So She Did.

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Rahmet

"When my family could not be there for me... Bridging the Gap staff walked alongside me"

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Tai

"The moment I walked into Mile High United Way, everything began to change."

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Support Bridging the Gap

When you support Mile High United Way's Bridging the Gap program, you are giving a young person who aged out of the child welfare system the chance to become an independent and self-sufficient adult.

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