Empowering Youth through Employment and Education

Adam Belal Helawa is a Youth Futures graduate and a successful entrepreneur. See his story here.

Youth Futures supports post-secondary participation among low income youth in Ottawa through leadership development, employment experience, and post-secondary orientation. The seven-month program helps youth build successful futures and strong communities. Youth Futures provides the skills, information, support, and practical experience needed to succeed in college, university, and the work force.

How It Works

The program operates in four phases:

  • Post-secondary Experience: participants interact with professors, students, and staff to familiarize themselves with the campus grounds, allowing them to feel more comfortable enrolling in post-secondary education.
  • Advanced Leadership Training (ALP): participants build confidence, skills and the ability to succeed in university or college and be leaders in their community.
  • Community Engagement: participants gain opportunities to make connections and contributions to the community while building skills and expanding their network for futures success.
  • Summer Employment: participants are given the opportunity to gain experience and earn money which can then be invested in their post-secondary education.

Youth Futures is a transformational experience. It has the capacity to make real change, not just in the lives of each individual participant, but in the heart of the communities it serves. Support youth, support Youth Futures.

Providing Employment and Education Opportunities

youth-futuresThe OCH Foundation is looking for local businesses to support the employment of our Youth Futures program participants.

It takes conscious action for an employer to commit to giving youth, at-risk, or not, one of their first work experiences. It takes money and time, but the rewards of providing opportunity to a deserving individual can be felt in their effort, throughout culture of the organization, and ultimately impact a community.

Through Youth Futures, we connect youth living in low-income communities to formative experiences in the workplace that will help them break the cycle of poverty and transition into post-secondary and the workforce. These placements last for 6 weeks (210 hours), and occur between July and mid-August, right off the heels of a 5 month intensive training and work preparation regime.

Some of Ottawa largest employers, such as the City of Ottawa, Hydro Ottawa, the law firm Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, and many others, have engaged Youth Futures over the past 6 years and taken youth under their wings, delighted by the output of the youth. Borden Ladner Gervais was the first private sector company to come onboard in 2010, and have renewed their commitment each year since.

“I am just impressed with the quality of the candidates. They bring a level of maturity that is rarely seen of kids their age.” – Marc Jolicour, Managing Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Each year, 75 at-risk youth are placed within willing organizations. Most youth are marginalized, new immigrants and first generation Canadians, with a growing number of Francophones and aboriginals. We are looking to more of Ottawa’s employers–specifically private sector—to join our cause and network of support for these youth. With more employers able to subsidize these 6 week work placements, Youth Futures will be able to start involving the other 200+ remaining youth who apply for the program annually.

For more information please contact:

Ian MacKichan at 613-422-1555 or ian.mackichan@ochfoundation.ca