Introducing the 2013 Good Apple Award Honorees – The Roots of Justice Award

ProjectEverlast_logo_bw_withNCFF-1On October 10, we will celebrate the outstanding contributions of Nebraskans who have stood up for justice and opportunity for all at the 2013 Good Apple Awards in Omaha.  In the days leading up to the Good Apple Awards, we will be proud to introduce you to the honorees we are recognizing this year.

The Roots of Justice Award recognizes grassroots advocates who have made outstanding contributions to justice and opportunity for all and have helped build a stronger community.  We are proud to present this year’s Roots of Justice Award to Project Everlast.

Project Everlast is an initiative through the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation made up of nine youth-led councils across the state of Nebraska that provides voice and opportunities for young people with experience in foster care.

Sen. LuncheonThe young people of Project Everlast have taken extraordinary steps over the past several years to shape and advocate for policies that give youth who age out of Nebraska’s foster care system the best chance to make a successful transition to adulthood.

Project Everlast members were instrumental in the passage of Sen. Amanda McGill’s LB 216 – the Young Adult Voluntary Services and Support Act – during the 2013 Nebraska legislative session. This bill creates a voluntary system of services and support to age 21 for young people who age out of foster care, establishing a proven system that will help remove barriers for young people with foster care experience.

The young people of Project Everlast were involved with the bill every step of the way.  More than 100 Project Everlast members participated in surveys and focus groups to design necessary components of the bill, including everything from the title and role of case managers in the program to the handling of housing subsidies and array of housing options. This feedback was essential to the final makeup of LB 216.

Members of Project Everlast became the public face and voice of the effort to create a program of voluntary services and support in Nebraska, with members traveling to Lincoln from across the state to meet face-to-face with senators.  Project Everlast members spoke at a press conference and testified at the LB 216 hearing in January, sharing their own personal stories while urging senators to pass the bill that ultimately would help young people like them in the future.

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As LB 216 came up for debate, Project Everlast members continued to educate senators, delivering postcards and fact sheets, speaking to senators at the Capitol, doing interviews with local press, and writing op eds to local newspapers.

The hard work of Project Everlast members paid off when the Legislature passed LB 216 in June.  Project Everlast’s involvement continues as the state works to implement the bill.  For example, several members sit on an advisory committee that is forming recommendations on how the bill can be implemented in ways that will best serve Nebraska youth.

The young people of Project Everlast saw a chance to take a hands-on approach to better the lives of future Nebraska youth with foster care experience.  They bravely walked the halls of power at the Capitol, demanded their voices be heard by our leaders, and ultimately, succeeded in clearing the path to a healthy adulthood for their peers.

For their diligence, courage, and hard work, Nebraska Appleseed is proud to honor Project Everlast with our 2013 Roots of Justice Award.

Join us in honoring Project Everlast at the Good Apple Awards on Thursday, October 10, 2013! Purchase your tickets today!

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