Blog - AMP | Achieving Maximum Potential




IFAPA has received special money from Chaffee Funds for teens (age 16 and older) in foster care that can 

only be requested through June 30, 2015. This special grant can be accessed through IFAPA's Friends of 

Children in Foster Care Program. These grants will be available for up to $300 per youth for items such as: 

extra-curricular activities, educational tutoring, senior photos, prom attire, class rings, camps, etc. This 

funding is for all teens (16 years and older) in a foster care placement including shelter, foster family homes, group care, & supervised apartment living. 


To apply for this special funding, please complete a FRIENDS APPLICATION (LINK BELOW) and submit to IFAPA for consideration.

New Secondary Education Opportunity-AMP UP!

Posted on 07/14/2020 at 6:58 PM


Introducing AMP-Up

July 1, 2020

Achieving Maximum Potential (AMP) is excited to announce the creation of a new state-wide council called AMP-Up. AMP-Up is going to be for High School Seniors who are working towards graduation and are looking for information, resources, and guidance as they maneuver their pathway to post-secondary decision making. This council is open to any youth who has been in an out of home placement. 

The council will meet twice a month starting in August 2020.  The plan is to have one meeting virtually and one face-to-face meeting that will be at different places around the state including community colleges around the state.

The curriculum will include help with completing FASFA’s, education in trades, Labor Market information, college entrance exams, budgeting, completing college applications and lots more.

The goal is to help youth create a post High School plan for each participant.  Each youth will have a different plan or future path.  

The application process is simple, here is the link for the APPLICATION  or for more information contact:

Shelby Holsapple; or

Holly Dommer;


Mindful Teen Workshop

Posted on 05/14/2020 at 2:54 PM

I wanted to share a free opportunity for youth to participate in a six-session virtual series focused on practical strategies to manage stress, difficult emotions, & help improve overall well-being, relationships, & performance in school, sports, the arts, & other daily activities.  The program will be offered for youth in grades 7-12 starting the week of June 1. This workshop series will be one hour, once a week for 6 weeks. They will receive The Mindful Teen book and journal. Deadline to register is May 24.


CLICK HERE for flyer


YSS Let's Talk

Posted on 04/29/2020 at 11:33 AM

Aging out of foster care?  Aged out and searching for support?  Former foster youth and over the age of 21?  Then this is for you.

Please join us on Thursday, April 30th at 7:00pm on our Let’s Talk! series on Facebook live (@weareYSS) for a conversation about the Iowa Aftercare Services Network and how it supports young adults as they leave the foster care system.  Panelists will share the ins and outs of the program along with program updates like the recent extension of benefits to age 23. 

In addition to experts from YSS, Elmer, a current client, will be sharing his experiences working with his self-sufficiency advocate and the benefits of participating in the program. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how you could receive free benefits, including a monthly stipend, to help you get a job, go to school, find stable housing, and so much more!



Variety AMP Camp Postponed

Posted on 04/07/2020 at 1:29 PM

Dear Campers and Parents,

Due to the Covid 19 outbreak and the unknown of exactly when venues will re-open, we have decided for the safety of all we are postponing AMP Camp.  The hope is that AMP Camp will be held August 10-15 at Forest Lake Camp in Bloomfield. Mentors will arrive on the afternoon of the 9th of August for Mentor training. 


Registration forms will be posted on the website and will be available starting July 1st.

Thanks for your understanding.



Support Teenagers & Young Adults During the Coronavirus Crisis

Posted on 03/23/2020 at 3:59 PM

Tips for Parents with Older Children at Home

Having teenagers confined to home during the coronavirus crisis may not be as labor-intensive as being holed up with small children, but it definitely has its challenges. While younger children may be thrilled at the prospect of having parental attention 24/7, adolescents are likely to feel differently.

Here are some tips for parenting teenagers (and young adults suddenly home from college) during this time:

Emphasize social distancing

The first challenge with teens and young adults may be getting them to comply with the guidelines for social distancing.

Teenagers tend to feel invincible, points out David Anderson, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, and they are likely to be well aware that the new coronavirus is not as problematic for their age range as it is for older people. Parents are reporting a lot of pushback when teens are told they can’t go out and get together with friends. “The fact that data actually is on their side, that coronavirus is less severe for them, is a problem in terms of getting them to follow along,” says Dr. Anderson. “They want to see their friends, and don’t see why the social distancing should apply to them.”

Parents are asking what to tell them. “Our answer is that exposure to this virus is an exponential thing, and that it’s not really about them,” says Dr. Anderson.  “It’s not really about the fact that they feel fine or the fact that coronavirus doesn’t affect them as much. It’s the fact that they could be asymptomatic carriers and they could kill others, including their grandparents.”

One thing to emphasize, he adds, is: “You just can’t know that your friends are well. And while you may be comfortable taking that risk, you’re also bringing that back in your house.”

Understand their frustration over not seeing friends

For teenagers and young adults, friends are hugely important, and they are supposed to be — bonding with peers is one of the essential developmental tasks of adolescents. If your teen is sulking about being stuck at home with parents and siblings, a direct conversation might be helpful, says Rachel Busman, PsD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute.

Acknowledge that you know it’s frustrating for them to be cut off from friends. Listen to what they’re feeling, validate those feelings and then be direct about how you can work together to make this situation bearable.

Loosening rules about time spent on social media, for instance, will help compensate for the socializing time lost with school closings. Encourage them to be creative about new ways to interact with their friends socially.

Support remote schooling

 Parents are reporting feeling pressured and confused about how to help kids with remote learning. With younger children, notes Dr. Anderson, it’s more a matter of finding fun activities that can be educational. But with older students, keeping up with expectations from school can be challenging, especially for those with ADHD, learning disorders or organization issues.

“I’m completely overwhelmed by trying to figure out how to structure a school day,” one mom told us. “I was never planning on homeschooling my kids. I don’t have training in this.”

You can help teenagers — and college students who’ve been sent home — create a realistic schedule for getting work done in defined periods, building in breaks and times for socializing, exercising and entertainment. The key principle: do a session of work first, then reward yourself with something relaxing. Keep in mind that it’s not going to be as effective as school, but it may get to be more effective over time as everyone on the school front, as well as the home front, works to improve remote learning.

Encourage healthy habits

Teenagers and young adults will do better during this stressful time if they get adequate sleep, eat healthy meals and exercise regularly. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule, with predictable times to wake up and go to bed, is especially important to maintaining a positive mood and their ability to fulfill academic expectations.

Healthy habits are particularly important for young people who may be struggling with anxiety or depression. Losing the routines you’ve come to rely on can be a big source of stress, so Jill Emanuele, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, recommends establishing new routines. “Make sure you’re eating properly and sleeping and being social and engaging in pleasant activities, ” she says, while also warning that young adults should avoid sleeping too much when they’re housebound. “There’s more of an ability to sleep at home, and while rest is important right now you still need to be active.”

Dr. Emanuele also notes that having family members around more often can feel overwhelming or create strain. “Families will need to diffuse tensions in the home with parents and siblings, because everyone is going to be stressed out more,” she says. “How to do it will be different for every family, but parents are going to want to think about when to give young people more freedom and how to make sure that their kids’ time is still structured. Everyone should be contributing in some way.”

Validate their disappointment

For many the most painful part of the coronavirus crisis will be losing important experiences: high school sports seasons, proms, theater productions, high school and college graduations. And while we’re all missing out on very valued activities, adds Dr. Anderson, “it’s especially problematic for teenagers who are wired in their brains to think about novelty and pleasure seeking and seeking out new frontiers to be limited in this way.”

Give them room to share their feelings and listen without judgment (or without reassuring them that everything will be fine).

Some will be worried about missing activities expected to help them with college applications and scholarships. Kids are understandably wondering how this will affect their futures. Again, give them room to share how they are feeling and acknowledge the real stress they may be under. Then express confidence in your child’s ability to rebound.

Help them practice mindfulness

Mindfulness techniques can be very helpful in this kind of situation, where our routines are disrupted and we may feel overwhelmed by frustration and disappointment. Mindfulness teaches us to tune into our emotions in any given moment and experience them without judgment.

In what’s called “radical acceptance,” we let ourselves sit with our emotions rather than fighting them. As Joanna Stern, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, explains, “You tell yourself it’s okay to feel anxious right now. It’s okay to feel scared. It’s okay to feel angry. You’re accepting the feelings you have and validating them because we’re all having those feelings. It’s really important that you accept them as they are rather than fighting them.”

In other words, says Dr. Stern, “We say to ourselves: ‘This sucks, and I’m going to be sad about it, and I’m going to be angry about it, and I’m going to feel anxious about it,’ or whatever it is. This then allows us to move on and say, ‘Okay, so now what needs to be done?’ “

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