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$10,000 PeoplesBank Grant Funds Graduation Package for CHD Foster Youth

(L-R) CHD Vice President of Children and Families Alton Jones; Cassandra Hildreth, assistant program director of CHD’s Court Appointed Special Advocates Program and DYS Transition to Independent Living Program; Bannister, CHD Children and Families Program Director Rhonda Young; and CHD Senior Fundraising & Events Officer Jennifer Baril

Thanks to a $10,000 grant from PeoplesBank, a “graduation package” will provide youth in CHD foster care and the agency’s Transitional Independent Living program with some of the tools they need to begin their lives outside the foster care system.

The CHD MaryAnne’s Kids graduation package will fund the purchase of gas and food cards to support them in their first month of living alone. A car insurance subsidy will also be paid directly to their car insurance providers by CHD staff. In addition, participants will receive basic cleaning and laundry bundles, which will include such items as mops, brooms, wet wipes, laundry detergent, and laundry baskets.

MaryAnne’s Kids is a special fund that provides opportunities to CHD foster children that would otherwise be out of reach. In this particular ongoing need, it is often difficult for youth who were in foster care to maintain financial stability when they transition out of services because they may lack family support or foundational networks. Many of them struggle to find affordable living options, and are overwhelmed by working multiple jobs to make ends meet.

“It’s hard enough to become an adult under normal circumstances, but foster youth face much greater challenges,” said Matt Bannister, SVP, marketing and corporate responsibility at PeoplesBank. “Their success is a testament to their strength, courage, and perseverance, and anything we can do to help them achieve success will have huge benefits.”

Over the years, PeoplesBank has been a generous donor to several CHD programs, especially Family Outreach of Amherst and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County.