Youth in the foster care system and those who have aged out of the system face a higher rate of negative life outcomes than their peers. They are more likely to become homeless, face teen pregnancy and experience the juvenile justice system. A recent study stated that only 58% will graduate from high school by the age of 19 and fewer than 3% will earn a college degree. The odds are not in their favor.

As a teenager in the foster care system, Maggie’s cards were stacked against her. She lacked motivation and the support of a trusted adult to encourage her aspirations. The absence of a stable foundation made her path to success seem out of reach.

Maggie’s life took a turn when she connected with the staff at the Omaha Home for Boys. This marked the beginning of a life-changing chapter for her, thanks to the guidance and support provided by her Independent Living Specialist from OHB.

This specialist at OHB is part of the larger Branching Out Independent Living Program. Branching Out assists young adults in developing the skills and confidence needed to live successfully on their own. This program is partially funded by the $260,000 The City of Omaha’s ARPA Community Grant Program.

Maggie’s journey to becoming an independent adult began with the basics – driver’s education, budgeting classes and resume writing. From there, she worked on saving for a car and eventually moved into her first apartment where her newfound independence flourished.

Maggie’s educational support at OHB was also a tremendous building block to help her reach her goals. She graduated from high school, and with encouragement from her Specialist, she applied for a scholarship.

“It’s a big blessing on my end to have this scholarship. I’m so glad I have the opportunity to use it,” she said.

Today, as an independent adult, Maggie has beat the odds that so many former foster care youth succumb to. Only three or four percent of youth who age out of foster care earn a four-year degree.

“It makes me feel really blessed. I’ve had this amazing support system on my side since I started this program,” she shared. “They’ve helped throughout everything – high school, college, my homelessness. I wouldn’t be here where I’m at without it.”

Maggie is on track to graduate from college with her Criminal Justice degree in May and hopes to pursue a Master’s Degree after that.

OHB’s ultimate goal is to equip youth, young adults, and families with the skills and confidence needed to succeed.



The City of Omaha partnered with the Omaha Community Foundation to administer the ARPA Community Grant Program because of the foundation’s work with local nonprofits and awareness of community needs. The grant program focused on providing funding to expand or enhance existing programs in areas of Crisis Intervention & Violence Prevention, and Workforce Development.

The City of Omaha ARPA Community Grant Program awarded $9.6 million to 35 nonprofit organizations. Eligible programs included youth programs such as mentoring, gang prevention and intervention, mental health, crisis response, and assistance to unemployed workers including workforce readiness training, certification, and employment services.

See all City of Omaha ARPA Community Grant Program grant recipients.

This project is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP0230 awarded to the City of Omaha by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.