JEM Friends is a non-profit organization in Boise headed by Liberty Thompson and they advocate and support youth who have aged out of the foster care system. Boise Sunrise has supported JEM Friends along and we were able to deliver a check to them recently as part of the club’s Center of the Table donation protocol. Liberty shared a story of one of the lives changed by their work.
One of the clients of JEM Friends is a young woman who we will call “K”. She was a teenage refugee from Africa and one of 6 children (#2 in age) who arrived in Idaho with their mother when she was quite young. The children were put into the foster care system when Mom had a number of issues and this broke the family into 3 pairs of siblings. This was a devastating event for K as she was one of the caretakers for her siblings so this led to her own series of struggles. She fell in with the wrong crowd at school and she eventually ran away from the adoptive family and back to her mother. Her living situation morphed into couch surfing with friends. The cycle of bad choices led to intervention by law enforcement and she hit bottom as she regained her freedom. This is when she asked for help from JEM Friends.
A judge released K to JEM Friends and, at this point, she was ready to improve herself and set a new course for her life. She is currently within one semester of earning her high school diploma and she is now working and going to school while caring for her new daughter (born Spring 2021) as well. Her life is now built on a much more stable foundation and JEM Friends was able to get her a car to allow her to support all of the components of her now quite busy life. The future looks a lot brighter for K with her residing in the independent living house that JEM Friends offered to her.
JEM Friends currently has 6 residents in the girls independent living home. They hope to be able to re-open the boys independent living home soon. The funds from the Boise Sunrise CoT donation will be used for operating expenses and maintenance of these two homes.
Lives are changed by the work of JEM Friends and, at Boise Sunrise, this is exactly the kind of work we seek to support. We strive to leave it better than we found it at Boise Sunrise and we are proud supporters of the extensive efforts by JEM Friends.
We meet on Tuesdays at 7:00 AM in The Riverside Hotel in Boise. Perhaps you can join us for breakfast some Tuesday and meet the club members and hear more about this kind of quiet yet critically important work being addressed by the numerous non-profits that our grants support. Bravo! to Liberty and the entire crew at JEM Friends for the selfless work they are doing for the young adults they are mentoring and supporting.