From the Start
On December 26, 2018, after visiting one of her young clients in jail, Pamela Bress, the senior staff attorney at Brevard County Legal Aid, decided to tackle the problems her clients faced as they aged out of foster care. Ms. Bress believed that if her 20-year-old client had lived in a safe place, had mental health counseling, help passing her GED, and employment assistance, she would not have been involved in the criminal justice system and lost her two young sons to foster care.
Through her research, Ms. Bress learned about an organization in Pinellas County called Ready for Life which has a 12-year track record of helping young adults successfully transition from foster care to adulthood. After immersing herself there for several days, Ms. Bress was convinced that Brevard County needed its own Ready for Life to help 15-25 year old at risk youth successfully transition to adulthood. To bring Ready for Life to Brevard County, Ms. Bress recruited Julia Irvin, former Executive Director of Connect 25, Dr. Kim Deffebach, PhD in Child Psychology, Lisa Soloway, President of LiftUp Young Lives, Inc., Betsy Farmer, Director of Community Outreach for the Housing Authority of Brevard County, Kyleigh Barbour, former foster youth and Corrie Dunkin with a background in Communications, Management and Youth Leadership. Together they founded Ready for Life Brevard, a nonprofit organization that focuses on getting at risk youth ready for life.
Our Mission & Vision
Ready for Life Brevard provides support, resources and guidance that youth in foster care need to transition to adulthood. We are a family-like community that serves, inspires and empowers young adults that are transitioning out of foster care (and their children) to be Ready for Life.
Geographic Area Served by Ready for Life Brevard
Ready for life Brevard (RFLB) serves youth in Brevard County 15 – 25 years old who are in foster care or have already transitioned out and are on their own. The youth RFLB serves exit the foster care system regardless of their housing situation, support system, or knowing that they have what they need to be successful on their own. At RFLB we help fill in life skills, learning gaps and remove barriers so the youth can reach self-sufficiency.
Meet the Team
OUR BOARD MEMBERS
Julia Irvin - President, Connected by 25 Brevard
Betsy Farmer, Housing Authority of Brevard County
Lisa Soloway, Executive Director Lift-up Young Lives
John Watson, Brevard Youth Leadership Council
Phil Scarpelli, CEO of Brevard Family Partnership
Nathaniel Cochrane, Real Estate
Mark Gornto, CEO Harbour Petroleum
Dee Avvampato, Industrial & Tech Education
Walt Koenig, International Sales & Marketing
Katherine Stewart, Business Consultant