Pact’s program is designed especially for adopted and fostered teens of color - non-adopted siblings are also invited to participate. Separate Teen and Tween gatherings focus on both social interactions among the youth and mentoring by adult adoptees and fostered adults as well as non-adopted allies of color. Our Mentors/Chaperones have designed a curriculum tailored to adopted and fostered youth of African American, African, Latino, Asian and Native American descent to explore their feelings and experiences related to adoption and race. Often youth who are reluctant to talk about these issues with parents or friends; find comfort and community with our Teen and Tween community. Many participants experience understanding while learning new ways to grow into strong, conscious young adults.

Monthly meetings are held during the school year and include mentoring sessions, facilitated discussions about race, being adopted and identity, a few fieldtrips and offsite activities as well as social activities and projects where youth are given the opportunity to mentor younger members of the Pact community. These activities not only allow time for friendships to form and grow, but incorporate creative and expressive ways for youth to think about their lives as adopted and fostered people. The youth often become very close and cohorts are formed by ongoing participation, so that although it is possible to attend for only selected sessions we encourage families to sign up for the full session.

Pact's Leadership and Club Coordinators

Ben Powning, Pact’s Event Coordinator will plan each session including both outings and in-house gatherings for all of the groups. Because of his own struggles to find and create a healthy racial and adoption identity, Ben feels like being at Pact is being at home and he looks enjoys providing the kind of welcoming and nurturing space for all of the youth who participate because he knows how much it would have meant to him as an adopted youth of color during his own tween and teen years. Lisa Kelly, Pact’s Youth Coordinator, generally plans the curriculum for the youth and as an adopted person of color is deeply invested in Pact’s approach to youth empowerment around issues of race, adoption and identity. Other staff include members of our talented and committed counselor staff, many of whom are either adoptees or foster alum themselves.

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CIT Program for Adopted and Fostered Youth of Color (& their siblings)

Our Tween Club Counselor-in-Training program gives older teens (age 16 and up) the opportunity to participate with the younger youth in a mentorship role while earning Community Service Hours (up to 8 hours per month). Being a CIT at Pact Tween and InBeTween Clubs is fun and also demands a lot of hard work and responsibility. It’s important to realize that if you are accepted, you become part of the team that makes Tween Club work for 10-14-year-old youth. CITs are required to participate as Teen Club members as part of the commitment of CIT duties with Tween Club. Youth eighteen-years-old and up, who have already demonstrated leadership skills with the youth, are invited to become Junior counselors with our Tween Club program.

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Pact Teen & Tween Club Is Divided into Three Groups

Tween, InBeTween and Teen Club are social groups especially for adopted and fostered teens of color—although all adopted and or foster youth are invited to participate.

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Pact Tween Club (Ages 10 - 12)

Generally meets the 2nd Saturday of the month, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm

The tween years can start as young as ten or eleven, and have often been compared with the preschool years because of the dramatic changes that occur during the move to greater independence. Tweens develop new views of the world, some of which may be challenging to adults. Emotionally, their job is to become "their own person." For adopted and foster kids, this raises identity issues perhaps on a deeper level than has ever been possible before. The Tween Club provides a safe place where kids can find friends, share experiences, and be supported as they begin the transition into full Teen status. The time together during these years is an early investment in creating a group dynamic and sense of safety among the kids and mentors so that when some of the new challenges they are sure to face arise, they have more tools and a community to fall back on that will help them navigate the demanding years to come.

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Pact InBeTween Club (Ages 12-14)

Generally meets the 2nd Saturday of the month, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm

InBeTweens are often moving toward the Teen years a breakneck speed without necessarily being emotionally prepared or centered for all the challenges that are starting to come their way. These youth are placed in part by age but also by connection to others in the group and their ability to explore some of the underlying social justice and peer relationships that are so key to their ongoing success. Combining opportunities to build community with conversations about deeper issues allows them to make sense of their world and create connections that will become even more important over the next few years as they navigate their later high school careers and contemplate launching beyond the nest of their family.

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Pact Teen Club (Ages 14-19)

Generally meets the 3rd Saturday of the month, from 5:00 to 10:00 pm

During the older teen years, youth begin to find ways to function independently, as responsible adults. For adopted and foster kids of color, this evolution brings up feelings about adoption and genetic/racial/heritage issues on a deeper level than many of their peers. If adolescence involves a crisis in identity, it stands to reason that adopted and foster teenagers will face additional complications: multiple sets of parents, multiple cultural connections and sometimes opposing values within each. Teen Club offers youth the opportunity to dig deeper into these questions with supportive guidance that gives them the strength to find positive solutions in their home and school lives, giving youth a protective factor as they face the unique challenges of growing up as an adopted person of color in a racist and adoptist world. We find that this group mostly wants time together to be able to breath and talk with others who share this aspect of their experience and care about their long term goals and eventual success.

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