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United Way Blog

Keeping Youth Engaged During COVID-19

Alliance pour L'éducation- United Way's Youth Challenge program supports 6-12th grade students by giving them the tools they need to make informed choices about their future. The program cultivates and inspires young people to think about their goals and their aspirations for a successful and fulfilling career.

The skills taught in the Youth Challenge program are designed to re-engage students in school, to improve outcomes, prevent dropouts, and to inspire students to find careers they are passionate about. During the 2019-2020 school year, more than 6,850 students from 32 schools benefited from the Youth Challenge program in 10 participating locations throughout France. This program supported by over 700 volunteers, gives students the tools and space to improve interpersonal relationships and to build professional and personal skills necessary for a bright future. 

The Youth Challenge program mobilizes schools, NGO partners, companies, and government actors to provide professional knowledge and experience to young people from priority areas with respect to professional skills, interpersonal skills, and exposure to different career paths. The Youth Challenge Program organizes meetings and internships with companies as well as workshops with NGO partners on personal development, creativity, interpersonal and collaboration skills, public speaking, among other topics. The objective of the program is to create space helping the youth to project themselves in a future that suits them. The Youth Challenge program aims to provide a toolbox that the youth can use to design their own path. As part of the John Deere Foundation program, Alliance pour l'éducation-United Way works with John Deere employee volunteers to design workshops, programs, and internships for participating students to receive valuable mentoring, build resume skills, and cultivate professional skills through internships. As a result of the challenges COVID-19 pandemic, the Youth Challenge program adapted to COVID-19 restrictions by launching a YouTube series that allowed students to continue learning about professional fields and keep their curiosity alive during the quarantine period. The Youth Challenge video series allowed students to hear from career professionals in a variety of industries including marketing, science and technology, business, nonprofit management, and the environment. These videos engage young people in the economic and professional world and encourage curiosity about potential career paths. 

In light of the second lockdown happening in France, the entire team is working with various stakeholders (NGO partners and companies) to ensure the Youth Challenge program can be delivered to youth with respect to sanitary restrictions. Digital formats of the program are put forward to workaround the restrictions some companies have to cope with (no physical access to officies for some of them). 

screen shot of career professionals on video


Alliance pour l'éducation-United Way is committed to ensuring every young person completes the school year strong and promotes equality of opportunity and school attendance for young people in priority and rural areas to enable them to make informed choices about their future.

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