The PALS Program (Preparation for Adult Living Services) helps at-risk young people transition to a successful adulthood. Managed by the Central Plains Center for Services and funded by Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, PALS has helped the youth it serves make significant gains in education, employment status, housing, health and community engagement.
Nikiea is the 19-year-old mom of a 1-year-old boy. Together, the two had spent a year couch surfing and living in shelters, such as the Siena Francis House. Homeless and unemployed, Nikiea was still very optimistic about what she could do to support her son, if she had some guidance.
Nikiea and her son came to PALS in October of 2012. Her PALS Specialist, Tanya, was immediately impressed with her positive outlook and gratitude for the help she was recieving. Together, the two discussed Nikiea’s future plans, and the goals she had for herself and her son. “During that discussion,” said Tanya, “we developed an initial Independent Living Plan that mapped out her transition to her own residence.”
With support from PALS, Nikiea took the lead in finding an apartment that would work for her and her son. She showed outstanding persistence in connecting with any community resources that Tanya recommended, and was able leverage multiple agencies to set up house and get a steady supply of food for her growing child. Tanya provided the encouragement, and Nikiea took over from there, knocking out goals on her Independent Living Plan, one by one.
Nikiea and her son live in their own apartment, no longer relying on shelters and friends’ couches for a place to sleep. With a stable home in place, Nikiea is positioned to pursue educational and employment goals to help grow and stabilize her income for the future.