Youth Villages stories

Amber Price meets with a YVLifeSet participant in her apartment in Memphis.

A YVLifeSet specialist dedicated to helping young adults aging out of foster care succeed as independent adults, Amber Price knows to expect the unexpected.

Many mornings, she rushes out of the house before the sun has lifted its head above the horizon in order to beat the lines at the Department of Motor Vehicles and help a young adult get a driver license. Other mornings, she has time to gingerly sip her coffee and enjoy breakfast with her husband, Jutin, and Django, their cat, knowing she will miss their evening meal together to meet a young adult instead who works past dinner time. Then there are the days when her carefully planned-out schedule derails by unforeseen circumstances – a teen who needs medical attention, a youth’s family who had an accident, a young adult losing a job or a family argument that results in a young person’s sudden homelessness.

“It’s about being flexible,” she says.

Flexibility and the desire to make a difference in the lives of others may be the most important traits YVLifeSet specialists bring to the table.

“It’s not a nine-to-five kind of job,” Amber says.

On average, Amber works with eight youth at a time. Most of them are between the ages of 17 and 22, and have spent time in foster care or are in the process of aging out. Some youth she’s helped never were in foster care but have complex family issues and lack all family support as they try to set foot into the adult world of work and independence.

From 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., Amber’s youth can continue to call Youth Villages for help. On-call services pick up the phone during that time, allowing Amber to get rest and recharge.