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St. Louis Neighborhoods Need Young Leaders!

Compared with youth in higher income households, youth from lower-income households more often face barriers to career training, and more often have limited resources and access to financial education and related services. Therefore, these young people may be less able to achieve financial well-being.

Youth employment programs offer opportunities to help young people, especially disadvantaged youth, gain the financial knowledge, skills, and access to resources necessary to effectively manage finances through adulthood.

As stated by the 2010 US Census, eighty-one percent of American planners are white. According to a 2013 survey, 84% of nonprofit community development organization executive directors are white. This data indicates racial and cultural disparities in both the planning and community development sectors. Young Neighborhood Leaders provides an opportunity for St. Louis teens to gain the skills and knowledge to enter into a career in either sector.

It is crucial to foster a generation of diverse civic and community leaders. There are opportunities in the Gravois-Jefferson Historic Neighborhoods planning area (Benton Park West, northeast Dutchtown, and Gravois Park neighborhoods) for programs that employ and engage young people. The area has a high rate of vacant properties, is one of the most densely populated in the metropolitan region, and 40% of the population is 21 years of age or younger. This area needs young leaders!

Here's how the program works:

Young Neighborhood Leaders will be placed in eight-week paid summer internships at local community development organizations and businesses. The internships will be complemented by sessions focused on leadership and professional development, which will include guest speakers and group projects. Throughout their involvement in the program, students will have opportunities for group and one-on-one mentorship, cementing the information they learn in the field.

Rise feels strongly about youth development in our neighborhoods and seeks to sustain this program indefinitely. In order to achieve long-term sustainability, we need your support.


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