A longtime supporter of early childhood development initiatives, Miami-based cruise company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is expanding its efforts to include a support program for teens aging out of local foster care systems. As part of its Black History Month activities, the corporation will launch a program designed to provide foster care children ages 16 and older with critical support services such as education, life skills and employment training, affordable housing, transportation, physical and mental health care, and more. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is partnering with several non-profits in the effort.
"In most cases, children who grow up in foster care turn 18 and suddenly find themselves with no one to turn to for support, which often leads to them becoming homeless, unemployed, and in some cases, mentally ill," said Horace Hord, Associate Vice President of Global Community Relations, RCCL. "We recognize that South Florida communities have a dire need for support for these teens, and we aim to help make their transition from foster care to becoming productive, happy and healthy adults an easier one."
The program is launching in tandem with the corporation's Black History Month extravaganza this year. On Wed, Feb 20th, 60 Miami-area foster care students ages 16 and older will attend a day of training on life skills, financial literacy, and career opportunities. Barrington Irving, the local youth who recently became the youngest pilot to complete a solo flight around the world, will speak to the teens mid-day, bringing several flight simulators with which the participating teens can experiment. The U.S. Coast Guard also will be on hand to talk with teens about potential career opportunities with the agency.
The evening will feature an extravaganza celebration that kicks off with activities for the teens at Jungle Island in Miami. Open to the public are a light dinner and reception at Jungle Island, where well-known television actress and former foster child Victoria Rowell will sign copies of her book about her life experiences and deliver a keynote address. The reception begins at 6 pm and Rowell's remarks begin at 7 pm.