HEROES Youth Leadership Project

HEROES Jumping

The HEROES Leadership Project is an important part of the Re-Envisioning Foster Care in America Movement. Project members contribute their voice, experience and talent to create a supportive and engaging community for youth impacted by foster care and adoption.

Our objectives are to:

  • Change – Members are trained and supported to be leaders and advocates for youth currently in foster care and those who have emancipated from it.
  • Teach – Members are trained and supported to be educators spreading knowledge about foster care and adoption.
  • Build Community – Members create and develop a supportive network of individuals committed to the health and well being of all youth in the Pioneer Valley.


HEROES Brochure

The HEROES Leadership Project is a membership-based program for young people impacted by foster care and adoption. It is designed to offer opportunities for youth to promote growth in the domains of:

  • Civic engagement
  • Character development
  • Leadership development

Membership in the HEROES Project is open to all young people ages 14 – 24 whose lives have been impacted by foster care or adoption. We take a very broad view of the term foster care to include any youth who has had to spend time being parented outside of their birth family. Our members include youth who:

  • Are currently in foster or congregate care
  • Have experienced foster care, kinship care or emancipated from care
  • Were adopted from foster care
  • Were adopted internationally

At the present time the HEROES program is limited to young people who live or go to school in Franklin, Hampshire or Hampden counties.

There is currently no cost for a membership in HEROES. As long as funding remains strong we hope to continue to offer programming without a fee. In general there is also no minimum participation requirement to be a member of HEROES. Certain special projects, however, do come with commitments that vary based on the individual project.

The young people who participate in the HEROES program benefit from skills development applicable to their daily lives. However, the HEROES program also has a public or outward mission. The vision for the HEROES program was created collaboratively with youth and adults and reads:

As HEROES we are devoted to empowering youth to create a better foster care system. Through connecting with others and building relationships we will make everyone feel comfortable and a part of our community. By changing people’s perceptions, we will make a difference.

The three pillars of the HEROES mission are:
  • Change – Members are trained and supported to be leaders and advocates for youth currently in foster care and those who have emancipated from it.

  • Teach – Members are trained and supported to be educators spreading knowledge about foster care and adoption.

  • Build Community – Members create and develop a supportive network of individuals committed to the health and well being of all youth in the Pioneer Valley.

The majority of our programming occurs during the school year. We offer a mixture of social/community building events, community service options, and public speaking. There is no requirement to speak publically to be a member of HEROES and all youth who do speak are trained prior to any event. All members are allowed to choose from an extensive menu of options to tailor their participation to meet their needs. The foundation of the HEROES experience occurs almost every-other Friday from 5:00pm – 8:30pm and typically occurs at our offices in Easthampton.
Sharing a meal together is one of the special parts of the HEROES program that we all enjoy. We keep our young people fed and happy! We can also assist in coordinating/providing transportation. Through the use of car pools and volunteers we hope to never have to turn a young person away because of transportation.
While we understand that the work we do and the relationships we build are powerful and healing in nature, HEROES is not a therapy group or program. Youth may naturally share parts of their life experience with peers during activities and staff/volunteers are always present to help young people process their experience with HEROES. We rely on the judgment of families, caregivers and other referral sources to determine if the HEROES experience is a good fit for any particular youth. If you have questions about what we can and cannot offer, please give us a call.

Our Partners:

Youth Opportunities Program
Community Champions Network
Hampshire Youth Connect
Sibling Connections
Enchanted Circle Theater
Rise Above
Foster Youth in Action
You
Youth Truth 2016

Youth Truth 2016

Rudd-REFCA Conference

One Simple Wish

One Simple Wish is proud to be providing scholarships for 50 youth to attend the conference on May 13, 2016. One Simple Wish provides joy to children in foster care and those that have aged out by ensuring they have access to the resources, items and skills they need to be happy, successful and connected. If you are a young person that has experienced foster care and you would like to learn more about how One Simple Wish can help, please at or read this FAQ.

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Contact Us / Get Involved

Sage Curtis
Project Director

413.527.7966 ext. 3

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