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DHS Commissioner Ambrose Kicks Off Backpack Challenge on Final Day in Office

The Philadelphia Department of Human Services' (DHS) Achieving Independence Center (AIC) will hold a kick off for the Backpack Challenge on July 31st at 3pm in LOVE Park.
    PHILADELPHIA, PA, July 31, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The Backpack Challenge is an opportunity for Philadelphia area businesses and residents to help older foster care youth get off to a great start and be successful in school.

The AIC aims to collect 2,500 stuffed backpacks and $15,000 this year. Thanks to partnerships with Wired 96.5, 92.5 XTU, Five Below, Internet Essentials by Comcast, Forman Mills, Everfresh and the International Longshoremen's Association, the goal is already well within sight. Last year, over 2,700 backpacks filled with school supplies were collected through the Backpack Challenge. The effort also raised more than $12,500 to purchase additional necessities for college and high-school bound AIC members.

"These young people have worked so hard and overcome so many challenges," says Matt Smith, Director of Sales for XTU and Wired 96.5 parent company, Beasley Broadcast Group. "We are thrilled to do our part to help them achieve their dreams."

This year, 85 AIC members graduated high school and 65 of those graduates have enrolled in a post-secondary program; 4 of those graduates were also class valedictorians. In total, 124 members will attend their first year of post-secondary school, 24 members enrolled in a vocational program and 10 students graduated from a post-secondary program.

"We are so proud of the accomplishments of these youth. The fact that so many AIC members have graduated high school and are attending post-secondary school demonstrates that with access to role models and support, all foster youth can achieve their potential," says Ambrose.

The Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS) is the City agency charged with protecting children from abuse, neglect, and delinquency, ensuring their safety and permanency in nurturing home environments, and strengthening and preserving families by enhancing community-based prevention services. Through the development of organizations such as Valley Youth House and the Achieving Independence Center ("AIC"), DHS provides services to strengthen the overall well-being of Philadelphia youth and families using a personal approach that is responsive to evolving community needs.

Founded in 1973, Valley Youth House provides a first line of defense for troubled young people and their families by partnering with agencies, systems, and businesses to create unique programming intended to preserve family life and provide youth with the necessary resources to become productive and successful adults. Services are provided by a professional staff, community volunteers, and student interns at schools, family homes, offices and more than 100 residential facilities throughout Lehigh, Northampton, Bucks, Philadelphia, Montgomery, Carbon and Luzerne Counties. The AIC, which is managed by Valley Youth House, provides independent living services to approximately 1,100 young people each year..

For more information about DHS, visit http://www.phila.gov/dhs; for more information about Valley Youth House or the AIC, visit http://www.vyhphila.org.


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Valerie Johnson
Valley Youth House

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
United States
Voice: 215-925-3180
E-Mail: Email Us Here
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