Youth Venture

United Way of Greater New Bedford believes that young people are not just our future; they are a valuable asset for finding solutions to today’s toughest social problems. Youth Venture is a program administered by United Way of Greater New Bedford that aims to channel the vast knowledge, talent, and energy of our Greater New Bedford youth into projects that will catalyze positive change in their community.

The Youth Venture program helps youth think critically about social issues and how they may address them. Through the Youth Ventures program, youth are able to tackle any social problem that they see in their community via a “venture” that they design. The youth who participate in this program are confronted with challenges as they work through their problems and ventures, and they must find creative solutions. They learn critical skills like how to build budgets, while also thinking about larger issues such as impact, sustainability, and collaboration. To receive funding for their ventures, youth must “pitch” their venture to a panel composed of school staff, community members, and United Way of Greater New Bedford staff. Once they receive funding, they work to sustain their initiative over the course of the school year and beyond, if they choose.

Youth Venture is currently running at Roosevelt Middle School in New Bedford, and the hope is to extend the program to another school in the future. To date, United Way of Greater New Bedford has funded 10 youth ventures; ventures range from targeting bullying at school and bringing awareness to mental health issues to creating a bike share program for students who lack transportation to school.

Youth Venture is sponsored by a grant from Tyco SimplexGrinnell. For more information about Youth Venture please contact Rhonda Silvia at 508-994-9625 ext. 213 or rsilvia@unitedwayofgnb.org