02.2008
KAZAK YOUTH BENEFIT FROM IMPACT PROGRAM
KFF Partnership Makes a Difference

Recent statistics place the number of orphaned children in the world at more than 140 million. That figure is staggering, and the painful reality is that most of these kids will never be adopted. For them, tutoring and training are the lifelines they need to make a successful transition from institutional care to independent living.

Fortunately, the InterLink Resources organization has established a program to address this growing need. Through InterLink’s Youth Impact Program, young adults in Kazakhstan are now being provided employment and life-skills training to help them prepare for the unique challenges that face all graduating orphans.

The Youth Impact Program started in 2007, and the KidsFirst Foundation helped this important initiative take flight. KFF funds were put to work to kick off the program last August in Taraz, Kazakhstan. And the Foundation plans to continue its support in 2008.

“Getting this program off the ground took a lot of hard work, but the Kazak youth have really responded well to the opportunity,” said Sandi Baron of Interlink Resources. “These kids want direction on how to succeed in life, and we appreciate everything the KidsFirst Foundation family is doing to bring hope to youth who are too often overlooked.”

The Youth Impact Program provides youth the opportunity to learn about setting goals, overcoming obstacles, working in teams, trusting one another and embracing an “I Can” attitude. Basic employment and career development training is provided. The program also includes social skills training so youth can learn how to communicate and interact effectively with others.

“This program is already making a difference for the youth of Taraz, and we think it has tremendous potential going forward,” said Carol Johnson, board member of the KidsFirst Foundation. “InterLink has gained the trust and interest of these youth, and our partnership is going to play an important role in helping these kids succeed.”
Currently, more than one million children live in orphanages in the former Soviet Union. Only about 15,000 are adopted each year.
The KidsFirst Foundation has already made a difference in the lives of many children and families.