In California some 50-60 percent of all state penitentiary inmates have spent time in foster care. In Los Angeles and Alameda counties about half all “aged out” – at age 18 – foster care youth will become homeless in six months. By age nineteen, 30 percent of the boys have been incarcerated and the girls are 2.5 times more likely to have become pregnant than their non-fostered peers. Within four years, well over half all girls and boys are unemployed. Within six years of aging out, a third acquired – or maintained – a mental health issue such as significant depression, anxiety or substance abuse. About half have acquired a chronic medical condition and about eighty percent continue to experience some type serious emotional problem.
For every child who ages out of foster care, taxpayers and communities pay some $300,000 in social costs like public assistance, incarceration, medical expense and lost wages over the youth’s lifetime. About 1000 foster youth age out annually in the nine county Bay Area.
The mission of Marron House is to provide the motivation, means and methods to ”aging out” male youth so they may pursue a path toward a successful and meaningful life. We daily provide group and individualized educational, social, practical and emotional guidance and support. In turn, our youth provide some twenty weekly hours of work and a commitment to enthusiastically advancing their education and work related skills while embracing the goals and guidelines of Marron House.
The Marron House Model
Marron House is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. The normal period from application for 501(c)(3) status to acceptance is from one to two years. We were accepted in 4 WEEKS. We surmise this was primarily based on the mission and model of Marron House as well as the unique, directly-related experience of Jesse and Willoe. We will provide from 16 to 18 young male residents with food, housing, security, guidance and support in a warm family environment. No government funding will be solicited. All residents work both inside and outside Marron House…averaging about twenty weekly hours at a Marron House enterprise while pursuing formal education and/or vocational training. The minimum stay is two and maximum five years.
Why Support Marron House?
The obvious number one reason is foster children simply do not deserve the traumatic life they have experienced. They deserve help that can radically change their life direction. A second critical reason is there simply aren’t Jesse’s and Willoe’s out there and without them, Marron House becomes somewhat problematic. Their combination of applicable experience, knowledge and leadership is truly unique. Equally unique is the self-sustainability of this non-profit model. No one will be calling in year two (or three or four) for a contribution and there will be no government funding…or oversight. We hope and plan for essentially all support to come from the Bay Area allowing any contributor to drive to Marron House and view the progress of the project and each individual resident. Many donors will become mentors. And we envision the East Bay Marron House to be the first of at least five in the nine county area.