DAYTON, OH (Aug. 23, 2023) - More than 100 foster youth participated in a special back-to-school shopping spree at Austin Landing Tuesday. Montgomery County provided $200 to each participant for items including clothing, shoes, backpacks and more. The event was specifically for foster youth ages 14-21.
“Adolescence and early adulthood are such critical times when young people are preparing for high school, college or the workforce. They’re figuring out their personal style and how to best express and represent themselves,” said Commissioner Judy Dodge. “Events like this give them an opportunity to find the items they need to feel confident.”
Montgomery County begins preparing children in custody for adulthood starting at age 14. They’re taught money management, self-care, mental wellness and exploring identity and culture. This shopping trip helps develop these skills.
“Our committed caseworkers noticed a recent increase in the need for new items to prepare these children in our care for the next, exciting stages of life. They worked closely with Kohl’s to arrange this special shopping time,” said Commissioner Carolyn Rice.
“Collaboration with businesses and organizations here in Montgomery County is key to showing these young people that their community cares deeply about them and wants the very best for them,” Rice added.
Tyheim Peaks has been in Montgomery County’s care for five years. During that time, he was diagnosed with cancer. He has been receiving treatment while preparing for school in the fall. He said the treatment has negatively affected his self-esteem, and the shopping trip gave him a big boost.
“It’s so nice to be able to pick out my own things and know I can take them with me to school,” Peaks said. “It means a lot to me that everyone worked together to make this possible.”
Anne and Dwight Tyree are Tyheim’s foster parents. They’ve been fostering Montgomery County children for more than 20 years.
“Fostering has been so rewarding for our family. We have kept in touch with many of the children who have stayed with us and plan to do the same with Tyheim,” said Anne Tyree. “He’s overcome so much and has such a bright future ahead of him.”
Dwight Tyree encourages anyone interested in fostering to get involved.
“We got into fostering to help children, but quickly learned that we get just as much out of it as they do. Our daughter got to grow up alongside many of the children we’ve welcomed into our home and because of that, now enjoys being a foster parent herself,” said Dwight Tyree.
Anyone interested in foster parenting or adoption is encouraged to attend Montgomery County’s next information meeting Sept. 14. It’s taking place from 6-7:30 p.m. at Haines Children’s Center, 3304 N. Main St., Dayton, OH 45405. Registration is required. For more information and to register, click here.
The John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood Program provided funding for Tuesday’s event.