by Elisha, United Way Matchbridge Alumna
I grew up in the projects, in a neighborhood surrounded by negativity and a high-crime rate. I needed something positive and more motivating to look forward to.
I got help through United Way’s youth-employment program, MatchBridge.
The first time I got paid, I said, “WOW – there’s an actual check with my name on it that I can spend how I want.” That feeling was priceless.
I am here to say that we need these kinds of programs; it gives youth hope and the opportunity to get off the streets.
It has made a big difference for me, and it will make all the difference for the up-and-coming youth today.
Taking a chance on youth lets them get out into the world. It gives young people a chance to map out what we want to do in life, career wise, if we need more training, and if we need to go to college.
More importantly, it helps youth get focus, gives us a work ethic, and prepares us to work so that we can be successful as adults. This has a domino effect because we can then turn around and help those younger than us succeed too. And when we succeed, our whole community succeeds.