Hundreds of current and former foster youth are being recruited to jump in on the California effort to vaccinate the state’s most disadvantaged residents against COVID-19.
Under the aegis of iFoster, a national organization that aims to help foster kids reach their full potential, perhaps 200 transition-age foster youth are being recruited to reach out to underserved groups in all 58 counties that are least likely to seek and acquire vaccines on their own and schedule them for shots.
Members of iFoster’s TAY AmeriCorps will partner with California Volunteers, county and state child welfare departments and other groups. iFoster plans to go live with its volunteers next month as part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Vaccinate All 58 campaign.
Target groups include current/former foster youth, foster/ kinship families, front-line workers, low income families, Hispanic, African American and new immigrants.
Local workforce boards are helping to recruit the young iFoster volunteers. Interested foster youth ages 18 through 24, or agencies that might have interested foster youth, can get more information here. Benefits for those who participate in the April through August program include scholarships and valuable work experience. Hours are flexible.
Foster youth will work from home as part of a virtual call center, using technology that will be provided. Participants will reach out to the target groups, educate them about the need to vaccinate and help them schedule their vaccination appointments.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the federal AmeriCorps program, identified the iFoster program as the best new AmeriCorps effort in the country in 2019. Before the pandemic, the model was built around training transition-age youth to help refer other peers in foster care to helpful services.