Valley of the Sun United Way has a five-year plan for creating Mighty Change in Maricopa County. We are working alongside nonprofit organizations to achieve seven bold goals. One of those goals is to empower our young adults through education.
Increase the number of youth age 16-24 who are engaged in education and employment opportunities by 38%.
One organization helping us make this happen is New Pathways for Youth.
New Pathways for Youth helps young adults realize their full potential through one-on-one mentoring and life-skill development. The youth in the program come from challenging backgrounds. They’re facing many barriers such as generational poverty, homelessness and family instability.
‘Opportunity Youth’ are young people age 16-24 who are neither working or in school. The Greater Phoenix area has 12% ‘Opportunity Youth’. That is around 70,000 people. That number increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mia is a 15-year-old high school sophomore who loves to draw and paint. She joined New Pathways for Youth when she was in fifth grade. She has been matched with her mentor, Jeri, for nearly five years. The two quickly formed a bond and love spending time together.
Jeri tells us, “Over the four almost five years I’ve known Mia… I’ve grown to love her and care about her. I don’t know many volunteer jobs that you do where that relationship is formed so solidly.”
New Pathways provides the mentor and mentee with a large network of support. They have access to everything from family emergency relief to housing assistance. For kids in the program, stability means success.
Mia is no different. She has big plans for her future, “I want to have a family and I want to have a home… and I want to have a stable job. I want to have a stable life. I don’t want to worry about bills or anything like that.”
Jeri says their relationship comes down to one thing: just showing up. She says, “It’s not about having some… magic power that you use… it’s just showing up when you say you are going to show up, doing what you say you are going to do and continue to show up over and over and over again.”
Valley of the Sun United Way is proud to partner with New Pathways for Youth to create Mighty Change in the lives of youth across Maricopa County. Together, with our generous donors by our side, we’re confident we’ll meet our bold goals and increase the number of youth engaged in education and employment opportunities by 38% by 2026.
For every 50 dollars you donate, Valley of the Sun United Way is able to support one opportunity youth, giving them the tools, resources and connections they need to live a happy, healthy and successful life.
Donate today: https://vsuw.org/donate