Through mentorship, skill building, and entrepreneurship training, OPtions Youth provides opportunities to at-risk youth in Halifax. OPtions Youth consists of 8 weeks of classroom training and a 12 week subsidized work-term. Within the training, Enactus Saint Mary’s teaches soft skills, employability skills, goal setting, and the skills necessary for these youth to identify and start their own social enterprises. Through the training on soft skills (such as anger management, stress management, communication, conflict resolution, etc.) and employability skills (such as best practices for interviews, professional conduct, resumé building, etc.), OPtions Youth readies at-risk youth for an opportunity to succeed in the workforce. OPtions Youth also consists of a mentorship component, where Enactus mentors work with youth participants to help them set goals and work towards getting their lives on track.
OPtions Youth has had tremendous success in its summer cohort, as the participating 10 youth started their own social enterprise, IEA Creations (Impact, Empowerment, Awareness), selling jewelry and soothing ambient music in support of mental health awareness. This social enterprise has generated over $1,000 in revenue in only three weeks of operation. Given its recent success, OPtions Youth was awarded a contract from Service Canada to sustain its work by accepting cohorts of eight youth, twice per year, for the next three years. This contract will allow 48 OPtions Youth participants over the next three years to become confident contributors to society. By working to get themselves out of poverty, past youth from the program are now recognized community leaders, and have inspired others to turn their lives around and seek the skills to acquire meaningful employment.
2016 – International Partnership Network’s Global Best Awards: Best Project in North America for Partnerships Crossing Boundaries
2014 – International Partnership Network’s Global Best Awards: Best Project in North America for Partnerships Crossing Boundaries
Olivia Brasloff: Manager