Sen. Carper Tours Bright Spot Ventures

West End Neighborhood House program creates businesses that are managed by current and former foster care youth.

WILMINGTON – On July 8, 2011, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) met with current and former foster care youth at Bright Spot Ventures, the newest addition to the life lines department operated by West End Neighborhood House. These young adults, ages 16 to 24, operate an innovative online bookselling and recycling enterprise and the Cool Spring Farmers Market.

In Delaware, more than 60 percent of youth age out of the foster care system without any employment, internship or job training experience. With the real-world work experience from Bright Spot Ventures, these young adults are less likely to face the negative outcomes that traditionally await youth aging out of the foster care system.

Through the nine-month employment experience, these young adults will gain marketable technological and interpersonal skills that are essential to overall sufficiency in adulthood. Employees will also explore career paths and education options through site visits and a month-long externship experience to partnering businesses, colleges and trade programs. As a result of the Bright Spot Ventures experience, these young adults will have employment experience on their resume, be able to transition to full-time or other employment endeavors and increase their level of education

“Bright Spot Ventures will make a positive difference in the lives of foster children transitioning to adulthood,” said Sen. Carper. “West End Neighborhood House has a tradition of helping those in need and I am proud to see this new program in action – giving these young students with bright futures the tools they need to reach their next step.”

“The Life Lines Department has been a leader in creating specially designed services for transitioning foster care youth for the last decade,” said Hayley Schmittinger, director of the Life Lines Department at West End Neighborhood House. “With the advent of Bright Spot Ventures, we are now able to offer comprehensive employment services coupled with housing and intensive case management.”

Bright Spot Ventures can accept donations of books, CDs and DVDs. To learn more about how you or your workplace can get help Bright Spot Ventures, contact Program Manager Carolyn Gordon at (302) 658-2800 or