In West Virginia, Libera, Inc. is working to help women and teens embody the state’s beloved motto, “montani semper liberi,” or “mountaineers are always free.” Named for the feminine form of the word “liberi,” Libera envisions a Mountain State where every woman and teen is free to “feel seen, love themselves, and flourish.” In 2022, a $349,983 ARC INSPIRE grant is helping them get closer to this vision.
Since 2016, Libera has dispatched over 100 volunteers across the state to identify common barriers faced by women and teens, connect them with resources to overcome those barriers, and offer peer support groups that empower participants to reach their full potential.
In 2021, Libera’s volunteer team impacted 23 counties and distributed over 6,000 resources throughout the state. A critical part of this resource distribution are LovePacks – drawstring backpacks filled with mental, emotional, and abuse prevention tools – for homeless and foster youth. Libera is committed to distributing 7,000 LovePacks by the end of 2022.
To further their focus on foster youth, Libera will use 2022 ARC INSPIRE funding for their project, Mentoring Program and Social Enterprise to Empower and Employ Transitioning Foster Youth. This program will provide a holistic network of supportive services to foster youth (ages 15-24), with a specific focus on job training, professional development programs, and employment opportunities. Participants will also have access to substance use disorder specialists, which for some could be a critical intervention – or source of prevention – during a vulnerable time in their lives.
Providing these youth with stable, wraparound support as they navigate the transition into both the workforce and adulthood will undoubtedly put them on a more secure path to success. It is anticipated that 100 participants will be served in Libera’s mentorship, job training, and SUD recovery and prevention efforts.