In 2011, Julie Higgins founded I Pour Life to empower and equip individuals with social and economic disadvantages to become self-sufficient. I Pour Life’s first initiatives were in El Salvador and Kore, Ethiopia where it launched sustainable development and empowerment programs for youth at risk of getting lost in gang and drug activity and young mothers simply trying to survive.
In 2015, I Pour Life conducted a community assessment with Missouri State University and realized that at-risk youth were underserved in the community. Youth were often able to have their immediate needs met, but few were investing in the development of these youth to help them become independent and self-sufficient adults. Out of this assessment, LifeStrengths, I Pour Life’s positive youth development program, was born.
As LifeStrengths grew, the need for a skilled coaching staff become more apparent. The program moved from utilizing community-based, volunteer coaches to staffing direct service LifeCoaches. LifeCoaches work one-on-one with each LifeStrengths youth, coaching them through the barriers and challenges uniquely faced by at-risk and foster care youth.
Today, I Pour Life operates as a 501(c)(3) domestic non-profit and international non-governmental organization (NGO) focusing on building essential life skills and social capital in Missouri and Kore, Ethiopia. LifeStrengths has now grown into a nationally recognized innovative solution for helping hundreds of at-risk youth leave negative labels behind and successfully transition into adulthood.