FLITE Center Welcomes Newlyweds, Family and Friends for a Day of Volunteering
Activities benefitted Broward youth aging out of foster care
The Fort Lauderdale Independent Training and Education (FLITE) Center hosted the newlywed party of Andre and Rachel Douglas at its Broward County facility for a day of giving back before the couple exchanged vows. FLITE is dedicated to providing resources for youth aging out of the foster care system, in three important areas, including employment, housing, and education.
The Douglas couple, along with 20 friends and family members, dedicated a portion of their pre-wedding itinerary to volunteering at the center. Activities included painting the board room, revitalizing the community garden, completing updates to the Safe Place playground, sorting textbooks in the College Boost Classroom, and helping to clean the Open Space Room. In addition to their physical contributions, the group helped fundraise over $1,250.
“We are honored to begin our new life together by giving back and supporting youth aging out of foster care,” said Rachel. “FLITE is a vital resource that helps those who walk through its doors achieve their dreams. It’s the least we could do to help these young adults be successful.”
“We knew from the moment we started planning our wedding that we wanted to spend our time making a difference together,” said Andre. “It goes to show there are important issues we don’t think about on a daily basis, but still exist. To be able to share this moment with our strong network of family and friends is an experience we will never forget, and we highly recommend others get involved in similar ways.”
Rachel and Andre met in Washington D.C. in the fall of 2012. Andre joined the United States Coast Guard before pursuing his passion for science and technology at Johns Hopkins. Rachel moved to D.C. to begin her career as an attorney after earning her Juris Doctor at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. In 2016, Andre asked Rachel to marry him. The couple knew they wanted to start their life together by giving back. They worked with Luis Rosario, the Director of Development at FLITE, and long-time friend of Andre, to establish a wedding donation site and gather family and friends for the day of volunteering.
There are approximately 600 individuals between the ages of 18 and 23 who have exited the foster care system at any given time in Broward County, and another 100 that are preparing to transition out on their own. 25 percent of former foster care kids become homeless within one year. FLITE provides a support system and a safe space where young people can discuss their challenges with others experiencing the same transition.
About the FLITE Center
The FLITE Center, supported by a coalition of service providers, is a central resource for youth that prepares them to lead successful lives after aging out of foster care, providing support in three critical areas: housing, education, and employment. The center focuses on passion, responsibility, respect, and teamwork to achieve positive results through perseverance and consistency. For more information on the center or to get involved, visit www.flitecenter.org.