Fostering Acadia is the largest independent living program with a single site campus in the state of Virginia. Licensed by the Virginia Department of Social Services, the program offers foster-care youth ages 17 to 21 the chance to live on their own, pursue careers and even buy their own cars.
Founder and executive director Jason Brown and his wife, Rebekah, were foster parents for nearly a decade. “We fostered older youth because they’re harder to place,” he says. “We recognized they weren’t given the opportunities to chase the dreams they had.”
Instead of temporarily warehousing these young adults, Brown says the group is focused on building relationships. For instance, “A single mother with a child gets a two-bedroom apartment so the child can have their own room,” Brown says. “Not a lot of programs will do that – it makes more sense to have their own space so they can work on themselves.”
Fostering Acadia also offers a military leadership program, a shark-tank style entrepreneurship program and a housing subsidy program – Fostering Acadia will cover 70% of rent – for 21-year-olds who have aged out of foster care.
A recent shark-tank grad started his own moving company at 19, making over $10,000 in profit. “He just shot his first commercial,” Brown says.