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Journey to success: how a local residence is helping at-risk young adults thrive

Posted at 5:27 PM, Jan 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-31 18:27:42-05

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — What looks like an ordinary yellow house on a quiet Green Bay street is changing the lives of young adults who've aged out of foster care.

The residence is the Journey to Adult Success House, or the JAS House for short.

"We noticed that as kids were aging out, they were still looking for support and still needed resources, so we spent a lot of time trying to connect them to those," Cano Padilla, a case manager with the JAS House, said. "A group of amazing women got together and decided 'Hey, what can we do about it?' and created the JAS House."'

The JAS House is a nonprofit transitional living home for at-risk young adults, usually between the ages of 18 to 24. It teaches its residents financial literacy, independent living skills and healthy habits that they can carry into adulthood.

Padilla said there's a need for the JAS House because of the statistically high rates of incarceration, joblessness and homelessness that young adults coming out of foster care are vulnerable to.

Despite the need, the JAS House is one of a kind in Northeast Wisconsin.

Keyandra Greer is one of the four young adults currently living in the house. She has been at the JAS House for about 15 months and said living there has reignited her passion.

"Living at the JAS House kind of got me more into my hobbies," Greer said. "I'm into art, so I do all kinds of forms of art. Painting, drawing, digital media..."

When she first moved in, she said she was in a rough spot mentally, but the friends she's made and skills she's developed have allowed her to let her guard down and be grateful.

"I have had more help from them than I've ever had from my own family," Greer said.

Greer and Padilla agreed that the JAS House is like a family in itself, and they do group activities like pool parties, holiday dinners and BBQs. Padilla said one of the benefits of being involved is that he gets to invest ample time and resources into each resident, whether they live in the house for weeks or years.

"What I've experienced working with these individuals is that overtime, they have the safety, they have the environment, and they're having all these goals," Padilla said. "They're starting to slowly blossom into themselves, and that's the beauty of it all."

"This place definitely has healed me," Greer said.

Padilla said the JAS House is just one of the resources a part of the overall Journey to Adult Success program. Though the house can only hold a limited number of residents at a time, he said he encourages any at-risk young adults who are struggling to reach out to the program, and they'll be connected with the resources they need to be on their own journey to success.

"If you're at that level or you're ready to take that next step, and you're at-risk, don't hesitate to reach out to us because we're able to support you in a lot of different ways," Padilla said.