To provide children in foster care with enriching outdoor adventures, invaluable mentorships, and a year round community, where youth are provided opportunities to develop leadership skills and prepare for life after foster care. Happy Trails for Kids believes that fostering continuity and belonging is the first step in combating the challenges of foster care and promoting success.
Nearly one hundred times a day, a child in California is placed in foster care because of severe abuse or neglect. In Los Angeles County alone, there are over 30,000 boys and girls in the foster care system.
Although the child welfare system is built to protect youth, too often these children are exposed to additional trauma once placed in foster care. They are separated from siblings, relatives and friends. Frequently moved from home to home, they encounter a stream of new caretakers, schools, therapists and peers.
Not surprisingly, without stability and proper support, foster children face an exceptionally high risk of unemployment, homelessness and incarceration as adults. More than 50% do not graduate from high school and only 3% will earn a college degree.
To combat these statistics, Happy Trails for Kids provides overnight camp experiences, year-round educational, cultural and social workshops and activities and older youth programming that help our campers prepare for life after foster care. In addition, many of our staff members have successfully emerged from the foster care system, serving as outstanding role models and lifelong mentors for the boys and girls we serve.
Happy Trails for Kids imparts meaningful stability and a strong sense of community for the children we serve. We infuse fragile young lives with laughter, happy memories and new experiences- that both broaden, and brighten the lives of our program participants. We teach children that in spite of their circumstances, they have a circle of support surrounding them and hope for a better future.