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Thursday, 25 August 2011 14:48




Salt Lake City, UT August 15, 2011 Xerox, Marriott, FranklinCovey, Wells Fargo, ARIIX, Chiquita/Fresh Express and The University of Utah have joined the nonprofits Orange Duffel Bag Foundation (ODBF) and EveryChild USA to raise $1 million to help Utah’s youth aging out of foster care. Led by Brent Jorgensen, co-founder of ARIIX, businesses throughout the state are asking their employees and all Utahns to TEXT ORANGE to 85944 to donate $10 to help youth aging out of foster care with life plan coaching and other essential items to support their pursuit of higher education, positive goals and self-reliance.


"During this back-to-school season, every person connected to the State of Utah is asked to help at least one foster care youth in Utah. Pull out your cell phone and give $10 by texting ORANGE to 85944 and then say YES when prompted," asks Jorgensen during the corporate launch of the Orange Duffel Bag Foundation and EveryChild USA campaign. Jorgensen, an ODBF Board member who fostered 21 teens, kicked off the campaign with a $10,000 donation from ARIIX, a Bounty, Utah-based multi-level marketer of health products.  He is urging other business executives to join him in making matching donations.


“Meeting the first kids in our first ODBF training program was an awakening for me, as they shared their stories and the reality of their challenges in sharp contrast with the passion and dreams that they so eloquently shared, I was changed forever,” says Mike Daly, Chairman of ODBF/President of Creative Solutions, Inc.  “Realizing incredible kids like them fall through the cracks everyday, their talents untapped, their hopes and dreams so easily lost to the streets, was a defining moment in my life. Saying we need to invest in our children is one thing, taking action on those words is another. We’re creating a movement that is making a difference”.


“Every person with a cell phone in the State of Utah and all persons who visit and love our great state are asked to join us in helping Utah's youth aging out of foster care”,  requests Michael K. Simpson, Executive Coach Senior Consultant Global Delivery, FranklinCovey. “Together, we can help empower these young people to achieve their goals and become self-sufficient, productive adults.”


More than 70% of those in our prisons report having spent time in foster care or homeless shelters as children. According to the January 2011 Children’s Defense Fund, the annual education expenditure in Utah per prisoner is $39,238, while the annual expenditure per public school pupil is $5,464.


Even though the numbers of youth in foster care are decreasing in the State of Utah, more and more older teens continue to age out of the system with no direction or a caring adult mentor in their lives. In Utah, statistics show that more than one in five youth becomes homeless within the first year of aging out of foster care; only about 50% of foster youth attain their high school diploma or G.E.D compared to 87% of other U.S. teens; foster care teens change where they live an average of one to two times per year. With each switch, they are half as likely to graduate high school on time.


The Orange Duffel Bag Foundation, led by its co-founder, Sam Bracken, a Kaysville, UT resident, who himself was homeless in Las Vegas at age 15 with only an orange duffel bag in which to carry his meager belongings. Now a successful business executive with FranklinCovey, Bracken launched a series of life plan coaching seminars on the campus of the University of Utah with more than 200 foster care youth attending in early August. Bracken and The Orange Duffel Bag Foundation have partnered with the Utah Department of Human Services’ Division of Child and Family Services to improve the outcomes for older youth in foster care.


“We are working to help connect teens in foster care and homeless youth to safe, caring adults,“ says Echo Garrett, President of the Orange Duffel Bag Foundation and Sam Bracken’s co-author of the multi-award winning book My Orange Duffel Bag, upon which ODBFs coaching program is based. “Too many people have no idea the barriers kids face.”


Pernessa Seele, founder of EverychildUSA, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness and resources to support organizations and institutions that serve America’s children in areas of poverty, health, education and opportunity, states, “The work of the Orange Duffel Bag Foundation is critical to the lives of so many young people today who are filled with great potential and no direction. Sam Bracken is my hero and I hope all of us will give just $10 to help one youth aging out of foster care in Utah”.  TEXT ORANGE to 85944 to donate $10


Last Updated on Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:02

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