Local couple gives foster teens new hope through summer programs

Local News

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) — A local couple is helping teens in foster care overcome adversity through their camps and an internship program.

Before becoming a welder, one of the program’s former participants Jonathan Lagneau was on the verge of being homeless.

“I just graduated high school and my social worker and school were all sitting in the office, and my social worker was screaming at the people saying that I was going to be homeless,” said Lagneau. “I was going be living in a dumpster and they didn’t know any place for me to go.”

His social worker came across Homes of Hope, an internship program that helps teens who age out of foster care.

“We work with them on life skills,” said co-founder Lisa Irvin. “These kids because they change homes so much, they don’t learn those everyday skills. A lot of us just naturally learn them.”

Through Homes of Hope, interns are given the support and tools they need to further their education and become successful adults.

It’s part of a program started by Mike and Lisa Irvin 10 years ago called Flint Hills Foster Teen Camps.

“Somebody has to if you will, answer the cry of this generation because they’re our future,” said Mike.

They also hold summer camps to help foster teens overcome any trauma or pain they’ve endured.

“We’ve had teens that have been horrifically sexually abused,” said Mike. “We’ve had teens that show up that have been beaten, locked up and starved.”

Through their programs, they’re able to watch teens like jonathan heal and become successful.

“Just to see that hope in their eyes and their face, it’s worth every bit of it,” said Mike.

The Irvins say Jonathan is a perfect example of that.

“I own my own house, I own my own car,” said Lagneau. “So, i’m doing pretty well.”

He says it wouldn’t be possible without their unconditional support.

“without that, I wouldn’t be here right now,” said Lagneau. “I would’ve been probably on the streets giving up already.”

So far, the Irvins have been able to help almost 500 foster teens through their programs.

To find out more about how you can help support Flint Hills Foster Teen Camps, click HERE.

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