Goodwill program participants with GII CEO Jim Gibbons / from Goodwill.org

Chris Parker, a participant in Goodwill Omaha’s Partnership for Youth Development program, was one of four Goodwill participants from across the country invited to speak to the White House Council for Community Solutions in Washington, DC earlier this week.

Chris has been a great role model for young people looking to turn their lives around. He has shared his story with honesty and humility, acknowledging the depths to which he’d sunk before Partnership helped him turn his life around. Chris has also been previously featured in a Goodwill Industries International My Story profile, which covers much of his journey.

He and his fellow participants demonstrated to the Council the positive effects of youth-based programs. From Goodwill Industries International (link unavailable):

Findings from the council confirmed that to effectively address the needs of opportunity youth, national and community initiatives must embody three fundamental principles: (1) young people themselves are key to the solution; (2) all sectors must unite around a common goal to address the challenge at hand; and (3) policies and funding must be data-driven to ensure limited resources are invested wisely.

The council’s recommendations, which focus on the following four areas, aim to help significantly reduce the number of opportunity youth and make substantial progress toward putting all youth on a path to prosperity.

1. Drive the Development of Cross-Sector Community Collaboratives
2. Create Shared National Responsibility and Accountability for Opportunity Youth
3. Engage Youth as Leaders in the Solution
4. Build More Robust On-Ramps for Employment for Opportunity Youth

On his blog Monday, GII President & CEO Jim Gibbons expressed the hope and confidence that drives his work as part of the Council:

Young people want to be – and must be a part of the discussion. Their voices must be heard. Despite the barriers that keep many young people out of school and work, these youth do not see themselves as “disconnected.” Rather, they have energy and aspirations and are eager to work hand-in-hand with local leaders to develop solutions that improve their lives, benefit their communities, and help their peers nationwide. That’s why the Council sees them as opportunity youth – because of the untapped potential they offer.

You can view the full report at serve.gov (PDF 4.8mb).

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