Who we are?

Building Futures & Foundations (BFF) is an innovative initiative built on authentic youth engagement aiming to increase opportunities and improve the path for young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood. BFF supports young people in creating their own success and fulfilling their dreams by providing an array of interconnected opportunities for young people and community partners.

Why We Care?

Each year in New Mexico approximately 100 young people turn 18 and emancipate from the foster care system, facing the challenges of becoming an adult alone. Many haven’t benefited from the typical growing-up experiences that teach self-sufficiency and without a solid family and community network, they face significant challenges.

Studies of Former Foster Youth Reveal that

  • More than 1 in 5 will become homeless after turning 18. While more than 1 in 3 reported having no place to live at times
  • Only 58% will graduate high school by age 19, compared to 87% in the general population
  • Only 50% will be employed by age 18
  • Fewer than 3% will have a college degree by age 25
  • At least 1 in 4 will be incarcerated within 2 years of leaving foster care
  • Girls are 2.5 times more likely to get pregnant by age 19
  • Approximately 1 in 4 have attempted suicide
  • At least 1 in 4 are coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

The Mentoring Project

The Mentoring Project mission is to empower young people to make healthy choices for their own lives by providing one-on-one role modeling, supportive guidance, and encouragement.

More info

Eligibility:

  • Between the ages of 14 - 21

  • Currently in or at risk of "aging out" of foster care or recently "aged out"

  • Currently living in the greater ABQ area (including Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, and Belen)

  • Must be interested in having a supportive, caring adult in your life

Access and Referral:

Interested young people can contact Julia directly or any adult involved in a young person's life can make a referral. Julia will then reach out to the young person to determine their interest.

Contact:

Julia Szendro (505) 217-0228

Youth Leadership Network

The Youth Leadership Network is a youth-led opportunity for young people to work together to make real and lasting changes in the foster care system and their community. Youth involved in the Network will work to engage peers and the community in legislative and systems advocacy. All members will receive leadership training, linkage to community resources, and opportunities for civic engagement.

More info

Eligibility:

  • Between the ages of 14 - 25

  • Spent at least 30 days in foster care after your 14th birthday

  • Live in the greater ABQ area (including Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, and Belen)

  • Want to make positive changes in your life, your community, and the foster care system

  • 8 regional representative positions are available statewide

Access and Referral:

If you are interested in participating in the Youth Leadership Network, please contact Anna to discuss the referral process.

Contact:

Anna Gennari (505) 221- 8293 or

(505) 217-0231

Community Partnership Network

The  Community Partnership Network is a collaboration of community stakeholders working together with young people to increase opportunities for those transitioning from foster care to adulthood and to help make meaningful changes in the foster care system. Members of the Network maybe called upon to assist young people in resource development, sustainability, evaluation, and advocacy. Members of the Network currently include CYFD staff, private business owners, local organizations and universities, and concerned community members. 

  More info

To be a member you must be:

  • a concerned community member; or

  • a local, state, or national non-profit organization; or

  • a committed business or private agency; and

  • care about what happens in the lives of young people transitioning from foster care and want to make a difference in the community

Access and Referral:

If you are interested in participating in the Community Partnership Network or would like more information, please contact Farra.

Contact:

Farra Fong (505) 217-0220

Education Advocacy

The Educational Advocacy project is for young people currently in or transitioning out of foster care who need support in obtaining their high school diploma or GED. It is also for those who want help getting into and/or succeeding in college (UNM, NMSU, CNM, etc.) or who want help exploring and connecting to alternative roads such as vocational training, the military, or general career exploration. We will help link you to resources and opportunities that will allow you to be successful in meeting your educational goals.

More info

Eligibility:

  • Between the ages of 16-25

  • Spent at least 30 daysin foster care after your 14th birthday

  • Live in the greater ABQ area (including Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, and Belen)

  • A desire to obtain a post-secondary education in order to learn the skills needed to get a good paying job

Access and Referral:

Please contact Arturo if you are interested in educational advocacy and support.

Contact:

 Arturo Fierro (505) 217- 0220

Opportunity Passport™ & Financial Literacy Education

The Opportunity Passport™ involves three distinct components: matched-savings accounts, financial literacy education through the use of a curriculum approved by young people in foster care, and access to banking services. The goal is to help young people be more successful in their transition to adulthood by helping them become financially capable, gain experience with the banking system, and obtain assets for education, housing, transportation or other expenses required for a successful adult experience.

More info

Eligibility:

  • Between the ages of 14 - 25

  •  Spent at least 30 days in the foster care system after your 14th birthday

  • Live in the greater ABQ area (including Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, and Belen)

  • A desire to learn how to manage and save your money responsibly and effectively

Access and Referral:

All eligible young people can be directly referred to Anna.

Contact:

Anna Gennari (505) 221- 8293 or

(505) 217-0231

B-More Workshops

The B-More Workshops provide a variety of soft-skill workshops, peer support, and community engagement.  B-More Workshops will be held every 3rd Wednesday from 6pm-8pm, and dinner is included for all participants.

More info

Eligibility:

  • Between the ages 14 - 26

  • Currently in, or recently aged out of foster care system

Access and Referral:

These workshops are open to all eligible young people.  Registration is not necessary to attend

Contact:

Anna Gennari (505) 221- 8293 or (505) 217-0231

or Julia Szendro (505) 217-0228

Community Door Openers

Community Door Openers are designed to connect young people to a variety of experiences and opportunities in the community that will "open doors" for personal, educational and professional exploration and growth.

More info

Eligibility:

  • Between the ages of 14 - 25

  • Spent at least 30 days in the foster care system after your 14th birthday

  • Live in the greater ABQ area (including Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, and Belen)

  • Want access to opportunities in the community to help you achieve your dreams

Access and Referral:

Please contact Anna if you are interested in Community Door Openers.

Contact:

Anna Gennari (505) 221-8293 or

(505) 217-0231