When Leigh Spruill joined the Church of St. John the Divine in 2021, he shared a vision of A Church in the City. That SJD would seek ways the church could engage to make an impact in our city.
A two-year research and engagement process focused on the challenges faced by many of our city’s youth.
A Lighted Path is a new nonprofit focused on implementing initiatives that will improve the short-term and long-term outcomes for the very young, for school-aged youth and for young adults disadvantaged by social and economic disparities.
At the heart of this mission is a focus on relationships, positive one-on-one and group interactions, and mentoring.
A Lighted Path was provided generous seed funding by SJD, but will soon undertake community fundraising, and has received several unsolicited grants to date. A separate non-profit corporation (versus operating this work as a ministry of the church) broadens its reach – to volunteers, to the community, to donors and supporters.
IT STARTS HERE
Adults in Training
Young adults age out of foster care at 18. In Texas, extended foster care (to age 21) is available, but the young adult must “opt-in” for extended foster care, and that is where many begin to fall through the cracks. Multiple foster placements, the physical and emotional conditions in certain placements, and the label of being “a foster kid” has been the cause of trauma for many young adults who have been in care. 1 in 4 will be homeless within 4 years of aging out of foster care. Less than 3% will graduate from college. Housing insecurity, incarceration, substance abuse, lack of stable employment, unplanned pregnancy are among the outcomes for up to 70% of young adults who age out. As for the other 30%? The research shows that at least one caring adult outside the system was the difference. Adults in Training will provide that difference.
In January of 2023 we launched our Adults in Training program - a name that the young
adults chose - in partnership with DePelchin Children’s Center, about 2 miles from SJD.
So what does that look like?
● We have been working with 20 AITs and have 40 engaged volunteers to date
● Each AIT can choose an Ally (or mentor)
● Weekly Life Skills sessions and monthly social events
● Resources like the Birkman Career Typing assessment, Educational Assessments, and college advisory assistance, thanks to the talents of SJD members and community volunteers
● Celebrating the wins: new licensed drivers, new jobs, and college applications
● Building trust takes time, and we welcome all residents to engage when they're ready
● Most importantly, we have assisted 4 AITs transition from DePelchin into stable housing
how we help
WHO WE ARE
President of A Lighted Path
Executive Director of Adults in Training
Executive Director of Loving Lamar
Executive Director of Strong Start
Learn more about A Lighted Path, recieve updates and find out how you can get involved.