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Category: Life Launch

Life Launch

Spreading her Wings

“Living at the Launch Pad has been nothing short of a blessing for me. Angels’ Arms has provided an abundant amount of resources and support to set me up for success. I will forever be grateful for my Angels’ Arms family. Now it is time for me to spread my wings!” – Hannah Lively

Hannah has been part of Angels’ Arms since she was 14 years old; she will be turning 21 this month and we are so excited for her to be moving out on her own! Everyone knows how scary it can be to move out and live independently for the first time. Hannah is a responsible and mature young woman, and we know she will do great things. We want her to be successful and help her furnish her new place. Since we’re all staying at home and the majority of us are cleaning our houses during this quarantine, we are hoping some of our supporters have found they not longer need that couch that’s taking up space in the basement or that old coffee table you forgot you had. 

Needed Furniture:

  • Couch(es) – L or sectional if possible (Donated by Jen Wallner)
  • Coffee table
  • End tables
  • Desk
  • Dresser set (Donated)
  • Small dining table and 4 chairs
  • Washer and Dryer

“While we will miss seeing her smiling face every day, we are so excited to see Hannah take on this next step in life,” says Cat, Life Launch Coordinator. “So many youth are not ready to live independently when they age out of the foster care system at 21, but Hannah is the perfect example of how resiliency and on-going support can get our young adults in foster care on to that next step.”

Besides furniture,  Hannah has created a house warming wishlist with a few household needs and appliances. If you would like to help further, click here to view her list!

Hannah is able to pick up furniture from your home between now and Monday, 4/20. The pick ups will be contactless (ie. leave furniture outside and Hannah will get it). Please contact to schedule pick ups if you would like to donate any of the above items. Thank you in advance for our continued support of our youth.

Life Launch

National Mentoring Month

January is National Mentoring Month! According to National Day Calendar, all throughout January we “focus on how we can all work together to increase the number of mentors to make sure young people in our communities have dependable people to look up to and follow in their footsteps.”

The mentors who help the kids in our Life Launch program are truly unmatched. We currently have several teens and young adults, ages 14-21, who take part in Life Launch, which is an extensive program that involves working one-on-one with foster youth and incorporates life skills, career exploration, job shadowing, college visits and mentoring. One of the most important pieces of Life Launch is matching every single youth with a mentor. Mentors help guide our youth as they explore, prepare and transition from foster care to young adult life.

“Being Jason’s mentor has been an incredible experience for me,” says Nate, mentor to an Angels’ Arms youth. “The opportunity to have fun with someone, build a friendship with them, and pour into their life in a positive way is a huge blessing. I highly recommend it! Our lives are so much more meaningful and rich when we invest in others. I believe mentoring not only provides an opportunity to make an impact in someone else’s life – it provides an opportunity to impact your life as well.”

Not only do the mentors prepare them for life, but they also help our youth start to trust others again and form meaningful relationships. 

“Nate has been more like family to me than just a mentor,” says Jason, the Angels’ Arms youth who was matched up with Nate. “He’s always positive and that makes being around him all the more enjoyable. He’s so nice and checks in with me a lot. I appreciate things like how we always laugh when we’re together and how he’s super sincere about who he is. I am grateful he’s my mentor and my friend.”

For more information about what it takes to be a mentor to one of our youth, email or visit the Life Launch page on our website.

Life Launch

A Helping Hand

Last week, Bess and Cat took one of our youth, Faith, to meet with MOHELA (Missouri Higher Education Loans Association) to discuss how she may go about furthering her education. Faith talked about some barriers that have hindered her from dedicating as much time as she should be to her studies; her car payment itself was causing her to work multiple jobs, which takes away time that could be used completing homework. To our amazement, MOHELA said they could pay off the rest of her car payments! This caused the tears to flow. “Do you realize this is changing my entire life?!” exclaimed Faith. She will now be able to forgo one of her multiple jobs in order to focus more on her studies.

But the good news didn’t stop there.

They asked what else some of our college-aged youth needed that they could help with. Cat mentioned that one of our other youth, Josh, was in a rent predicament; the person he was splitting rent with moved out suddenly and he couldn’t afford to pay double. MOHELA, without hesitation, said they were more than willing to help pay half of Josh’s rent for the next seven months! Our jaws hit the floor. 

MOHELA has a fund set aside in order to give back to the community. The truly are changing the lives of our youth one step at a time. We now have a great partnership with them, and they are willing to help with other school-related needs of the youth who are seeking to further their education. We cannot thank them enough for their support!

Life Launch

Our Version of Fixer-Upper

Earlier this summer, our LaunchPad was completely remodeled by the amazing architecture firm Ottolino Winters Huebner. They gave the apartment a whole new makeover including painting the walls a chic gray as well as picking out stylish and modern furniture. They made it not only pleasing to the eye, but also functional beyond belief. A cozy gray couch welcomes out as you first walk into the room; in the back right, a beautiful sitting room with a large window to gaze out at the yard; last but not least, beautifully redone bedrooms that will make you feel right at home. Our LaunchPad is a transitional apartment for those who will be aging out of foster care in the near future. We wanted to give them a place they could call their own! We could not be more grateful to our friends at Ottolino Winters Huebner for the beautiful remodel. Oh, did we mention they did it for free and out of the kindness of their hearts? Truly amazing people. 













Life Launch

Mentors needed, can you help?

Mentor Nate and his Mentee Jason

“Being Jason’s mentor has been an incredible experience for me. The opportunity to have fun with someone, build a friendship with them, and pour into their life in a positive way is a huge blessing. I highly recommend it! Our lives are so much more meaningful and rich when we invest in others. I believe mentoring not only provides an opportunity to make an impact in someone else’s life – it provides an opportunity to impact your life as well.”


Youth in need of a mentor:

Male youth (14) – likes football and boxing, enjoys listening to music and playing video games

Male youth (14) – loves all sports but especially enjoys basketball (watching and playing), like to play video games

Male youth (17) – wants to learn how to play and build skills in basketball, enjoys relaxing, likes outdoor activities and exercise

Male youth (14) – interested in technology, likes basketball and football

Click HERE to complete an online mentor application.

Please contact Cat, Life Launch Program Coordinator at Angels’ Arms. Office: 314-842-8400

Life Launch

Seeking Internships for our Youth

Currently we have 8 young adults ranging in ages from 19–22 who are interested in finding an internship opportunity for the summer, all of whom are enrolled in school and ready for real world experiences related to what they want to do with their future.

We are looking for paid internships in the following fields:

  • Construction Management
  • Real Estate
  • Nursing (youth has CNA credentials)
  • Camp counselor, working with youth with disabilities or a profession involving helping people
  • Teaching (music or choir), anything related to work with youth in this field
  • Film Production or anything related to work with film or media and
  • Auto Mechanics/Maintenance

If you work for a company that could use a hardworking and dedicated young adult related to any of these areas of interest, please contact Cassady Lesniak with Angels’ Arms Life Launch Program at


To learn more about the 8 individual youth eligible for the Life Launch Internship Program, see below:

  • Jake (22) just finished his Sophomore year at St. Louis Community College and is currently studying Construction Management. He plans on getting his Associate’s Degree in Construction Management and moving on to a Bachelor’s Degree related to his field. Jake is a very hard worker and has never had a problem holding down and exceeding in a job. He is very reliable and dedicated. He has held jobs in the food industry, moving companies, IT, labor, and is currently a line supervisor at Security Systems Manufacturing.
  • Jeff (22) just finished his second year at St. Louis Community College working towards a degree in Marketing. Jeff has recently changed his focus to Real Estate and is looking for an opportunity to work in the field to learn more about obtaining his license. Jeff was born to sell, is a natural speaker and is very outgoing.
  • Josh (20) just finished his freshman year at St. Louis Community College with excellent grades. Josh is a natural born leader and is very talented at everything he puts his mind to. He is hard working and responsible for his age. Josh is currently working at Walmart. While Josh likes his job and is comfortable, he would like an opportunity to experience other fields to expand his resume. Josh thinks he would make an excellent camp counselor over the summer and would like to work with youth with disabilities. Josh is very patient and would work well at anything related to this type of work. While Josh is undecided about his major at this time, he is open to any available opportunities that could introduce him to new ideas and career paths.
  • Hannah (19) just finished her freshman year at Southeast Missouri State University studying nursing. Hannah is already a Certified Nurse Assistant and successfully completed a medical internship last summer. Hannah is interested in finding an internship in the nursing field that could give her more hands on experience.
  • Abby (19) finished her freshman year at St. Louis Community College and is studying to become a music teacher. Not only is Abby a very talented singer and pianist, she is also an extremely loyal and a hard worker. Abby is looking for any internship opportunities in the field of teaching, music, choir, or anything closely related.
  • Jason (19) will be graduating from Lindbergh Senior High School at the end of May. He is enrolled to start his Freshman year at St. Louis Community College in the fall. Jason is a very talented and charismatic teen who has a lot of passion. His dream is to go to film school in Toronto his Junior year of college. Jason is looking for any internship opportunities in the field of film production or related to media production.
  • Alex (19) graduated from high school in 2017 and started taking general classes at Ranken Technical College last semester. This fall he will officially start Ranken’s two-year Automotive Mechanic Program. Alex has worked on cars and motorcycles his entire life and is excited to start putting the knowledge he has learned to use. Alex would love the opportunity to get hands on experience while he prepares for his upcoming semester. He is passionate and very thorough. He would make an excellent addition to any garage setting that could help him master his craft while in school.
  • Alan (19) will be graduating from Lindbergh Senior High School at the end of May. He is enrolled and will start a two-year program at Ranken Technical College in the fall in the Automotive Technical Program. Alan is a hard and reliable worker. He has worked food and retail jobs throughout high school. Alan is interested in an internship in the Automotive field to jump start his skill set and be the best student in his class.
Life Launch

Class of 2017 Graduates

Kameron – Southeast Missouri State University

Josh – Parkway South High School Class of 2017

Abby – Lindbergh High School Class of 2017

Hannah – Mehlville High School Class of 2017

Life Launch

The Future Looks Bright for Hannah

Hannah with her new car!

Do you remember your first car? Many of us have fond memories of getting behind the wheel of our very first car. Whether it was a family hand-me-down or a brand new vehicle complete with the new car smell, the freedom it represented was thrilling and for one of our youth, that “first car” dream became a reality last month.

Hannah, a high school senior, has been saving for a car for quite some time with the help of the Chafee Independent Living Program. By March, she finally saved up enough for a used car, more specifically, a 2000 Toyota Rav4 she’d been eyeing. Although the car was 17 years old, she didn’t care because it was all she could afford and at the end of the day, it would allow her to drive to and from school/work without having to ask for rides from her foster parents. Right before she was about to finalize the purchase of the Rav4, she learned of a unique opportunity thought Frank Leta Honda Charitable Foundation. They offered to match her savings, up to $3,000, which allowed her to buy a much newer and more reliable vehicle, a 2011 Toyota Camry. They also upgraded the car with four new tires and are covering all future oil changes and tire rotations. Hannah stopped by the Angels’ Arms office to show of her new car and share her exciting news. She expressed how grateful she is to everyone at Frank Leta for making her new car dream a reality.

Hannah is set to graduate high school in May and just recently obtained her nurse assistant certification through the Health Sciences Program at South Tech. She is excited to attend Southeast Missouri State University in the Fall where she plans to pursue a degree in nursing.

If you would like to support Hannah by helping her prepare for life in a dorm, away from her foster family, please contact for more info. Also, gas gift cards and Target and Walmart gift cards would be greatly beneficial to Hannah and can be mailed to Angels’ Arms, 12128A Tesson Ferry Road, St. Louis, MO 63128.

Life Launch

An Outing With the Life Launch Youth

unnamedThe Angels’ Arms Life Launch team invited our youth to visit Forest Park and participated in a self-guided tour of the St. Louis Art Museum. Despite the St. Louis heat, the teens enjoyed a picnic in the park, passed around a football, and shared stories about their summer happenings.  The group then headed to the Art Museum where they followed a guided tour planned out by one of the Life Launch teens. The tour included visits to numerous exhibits including African American and Native American Art, Textiles from the Silk Road, and the Sculpture Garden. The group said they would like to come back again to see other exhibits they missed. A shout out to the great parents and volunteers who helped plan this memorable outing.

Life Launch

Congrats to our graduates!

Did you know that foster kids in MO have an average high school graduation rate of $50%…BUT did you know that every single teen that’s been in one of our homes has graduated from high school. We have a 100% high school graduation rate and 4 teens graduating this month alone! 


IMG_6413It has been just over 3 years since Jake joined our Angels’ Arms family at the age of 17. He arrived with little to his name but hope and the few clothes he had with him. We have had the privilege of watching that unsure teenager grow into a strong, compassionate, and giving young man. His road to graduation has seen many bumps and unexpected turns which have served to strengthen his resolve to achieve his goals.

Jake will start his journey to a degree in engineering here in St. Louis, with plans to transfer to Rolla S&T. He is looking forward to a summer internship at Panera Bread and continuing to benefit from the wisdom and support of his Life Launch Mentor. We wish him all the best on the road ahead.

Would you like to congratulate Jake on graduating from high school, or share words of encouragement as he embarks on his journey to college? Contact Amber Odom for more details at (314) 842-8400.



ChrisWe have been privileged to have Chris in our Angels’ Arms family since 2011. He has faced personal challenges with a drive to graduate high school and find his place in the automotive field. He has worked hard to maintain his grades while also winning scholarships toward his post-secondary education. We are so proud of this young man’s drive and accomplishment!

Chris is preparing to further his automotive training and credentials at the highly esteemed Lincoln College of Technology. His planning and savings will pay off, as he enters the program he has been dreaming about for the last two years.

Would you like to help us celebrate our graduate? Let him know you are cheering him on by sharing a card and words of encouragement. Email for details.




NathanIn February 2012, Nathan made his home in Angels’ Arms. With his siblings by his side, he became the youngest son of Ed and Margie Hopper through adoption. Facing challenges throughout his teen years, Nathan overcame the biggest of these just two weeks ago….graduating from high school. We are so proud of Nathan’s hard work and perseverance over the last year!

Looking ahead, Nathan plans to move into the field of carpentry. With the support of his Life Launch mentor, his family, and Angels’ Arms to back him up, Nathan is forging ahead in his life journey.

Would you like to help us celebrate our graduate? Let him know you are cheering him on by sharing a card and words of encouragement! Email for Nathan’s contact info.