Koinonia Teaches Laser Cutting to Foster Girls Thanks to Soroptimist Greater Sac

Koinonia Homes for Teens in Loomis has received the $10,000 Big Dream Endowment Grant from Soroptimist International of Greater Sacramento to teach laser cutting to girls in foster care. Koinonia, a residential program for foster youth, has used the grant to purchase a Universal Laser System laser cutter for its onsite Tech Center that is teaching foster youth in-demand job skills so they can compete with peers who have not experienced foster care.

“We are so grateful to Soroptimist International of Greater Sacramento for recognizing the amazing potential of the girls in our program,” said Bill Ryland, director, Koinonia Homes for Teens. “This laser cutter is an essential piece of equipment that allows our Tech Center to teach teen girls a viable occupation in the manufacturing, trades and engineering fields. Given all they go through at a young age, our young ladies are capable and worthy of an opportunity to achieve.”

The laser cutter uses a laser beam to create patterns and designs in a variety of materials including glass, wood and metal – technology that is used in a variety of industries. Participating foster youth receive creative assignments to learn how to use the design program CorelDRAW, a universal control panel and the laser cutter.

“This is the largest Endowment Fund grant our club has awarded to date, and the club membership was delighted to have the funds go to such a worthy organization,” said Carol Little, CEO of Corporate Design Group, and past president and endowment fund volunteer with Soroptimist International of Greater Sacramento. “We have been aware of the good work Koinonia does with foster youth, and we are excited to award funds for hands-on skills training toward job readiness to support the future success of these young women.”

Through Koinonia’s Tech Center, foster youth also take classes on networking, professional presentation and life skills, and are introduced to certificate programs, degree programs and job training.

“We have foster youth who come through our doors and have never stopped to think about what they will do in their future,” Ryland said. “We find the teens who come to us are concentrating on survival rather than what they would like to do as a career. Teaching teens career choices creates the basis of self-reliance, improving overall outcomes.”

Koinonia Homes for Teens, a division of Koinonia Family Services, has eight homes located in Placer and Sacramento counties, a Placer County Office of Education WASC-accredited School and a Treatment Center in Loomis. Koinonia is one of the premiere adolescent mental health and trauma-informed treatment programs in the state. Each home is staffed with caring professionals that bring a home-like atmosphere and quality treatment during this difficult out-of-home placement. For more information and to make a donation, visit http://teens.kfh.org.

Soroptimist International of Greater Sacramento is an organization of business and professional women who strive to improve the lives of women and children domestically and internationally through grants and community outreach programs. For more information, visit www.sacramentosoroptimists.org.