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“If you want to change the world one person at a time, Youth Futures is a great way to do that.”
That’s what a mentor in the 2022 program had to say about the experience.
Youth Futures, founded in 2014, is a program designed to level the playing field for students from low-income families who are entering post-secondary studies. The program provides mentorship, leadership and job training, and job placement to students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college or university. On Aug. 18, 125 students graduated from the program.
Going into his fourth year of Criminology at the University of Ottawa, Emmanuel joined the program as a mentor for the first time this year, where his brother also attended as a participant. He said he is excited to participate next year as well.
“The program gives them so many resources – CPR training, job retention, technical skills and tools to support mental health, I wish I had the opportunity to participate before I started school,” he said.
The OCH Foundation for Healthy Communities helps provide funding and administrative support for the program.
Abdirahim, who recently graduated from De La Salle Secondary School, participated in the program as he readies to enter his first year of Sociology at the University of Ottawa.
He spent the summer doing a job placement at a law firm. He worked in the mail room, learning how to use technology and the importance of tracking important documents. Abdi said he learned a lot of technical skills since most of the mail was scanned in and emailed to the recipients.
“I think one of the biggest things I learned was good communication skills, so that I had a great relationship with my manager,” Abdi said.
He added that he was also glad he got a chance to tour the local universities and colleges and talk to current students.
“I would totally recommend doing the program if you can. There’s so much to learn, from financial lessons to mental health and coping mechanisms,” Abdi said, adding the whole group of participants and mentors see each other as friends now.
Watch the OCH Foundation’s website and social media to find out when applications are open for the 2023 class.