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Indispensable Resources For At-Risk Youth

Update Date: Dec 04, 2018 11:42 AM EST

Indispensable Resources For At-Risk Youth

In today's North America, there are far too many teens and children growing up in vulnerable situations in under-resourced communities. While it is true that adversity often breeds greatness, it is also true that without the proper guidance and resources, even the most ambitious youth can become another depressing statistic.

While the public-school system is often unable to provide kids with the real-world skills they need to succeed, there are a growing number of non-profits that are attempting to fill in the gaps as necessary. Depending on what state or province you live in, the funding for public schools may differ vastly. Furthermore, if you live in community housing or far away from the wealthier neighbourhoods, the local schools may be severely underfunded for insidious political reasons. For this reason, reaching out to well-organized non-profits may provide a much-needed lifeline.

What Can Non-Profits Do?

Non-profits are typically funded by government money or by donations. While there is a nearly infinite variety of non-profits, we're discussing organizations that provide resources and opportunities for young people.

Because these types of organizations have a budget outside of a corporate context and are typically made up of passionate folks who are truly doing what they love, they can have an incredibly positive impact on the lives of young people who are used to being passed over, dismissed or constantly punished.

What Are Some Different Examples

Depending on where you live, there may be any number of non-profits for youth that specialize in sports, science, literacy or music. These programs are sometimes integrated with a school's curriculum and offered onsite, while others have their own brick and mortar spaces that young people can visit. Some non-profits may be focused on helping kids find their unique voice and sense of self-worth, while others may have more specific goals, like providing access to film and entertainment job opportunities.

Here are some examples of tried and true non-profits. They may not be situated in your city, but they should provide some sense of what you're looking for:

826 National: This organization has chapters in NYC, New Orleans, Washington and more cities across the US. These centers host creativity workshops for children and teens that promote literacy and self-expression. Beyond just helping kids with their English homework, 826 National helps young people learn how to think critically and imagine a better world.

Actua: This company offers science, engineering and tech workshops and educational resources to young people across Canada. Partnerships with companies like Nintendo and field trips to the arctic make this outstanding non-profit a truly amazing organization.

The CIE Tour: The Careers in Entertainment Tour is an ongoing project to open the door for young people interested in working in the film and television industry. From working in the cameras department to composing music and working at craft services, the CIE tour can help you figure out where you fit in. As the name suggests, the CIE tour travels around to various cities pulling in special guest speakers and recruiting mentors to give the aspiring young folks sound advice.

If these non-profits are not in your city, do some homework and city what turns up, you might just be surprised!

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