In October 2019, Mile High United Way’s Bridging the Gap program hosted professional development events for young people exiting the child welfare system.
Each year, participants in the program go through four days of career development training as part of Bridging the Gap Career Week.
During Career Week, volunteers and staff lead participants through training workshops, which include resume writing, mock interviews, and professional dress, to help them plan for their future and ensure they can meet the goals set for themselves. This year, all 13 young people who participated in Career Week graduated the training and are more prepared to take the next steps in pursuing a career.
One graduate shared that, “Career Week was so organized and all of the volunteers were so helpful and encouraging. What made this Career Week different from the rest is that I got a lot of useful resources, great information, and walked away feeling like I got real help to get a job. I have more confidence in myself now and I believe I can work towards my ultimate goal which is to own my own food truck.”
One volunteer shared their experience working with the youth. “This experience has made me realize how much I like to work with teenagers. It’s nice to have the opportunity to work specifically with teens who have been through it, or are still experiencing struggle, some of which I have personally faced. I know how easy it is to be influenced at that age, and I appreciate how this program gives you the opportunity to be a positive role model for teens who might need one.”
In total, 37 volunteers helped out at Career Week, including 3 volunteers from Kaiser Permanente and 10 volunteers from Capital One. There were 38.5 total volunteer hours served, and 13 youth graduated Career Week.
One of the barriers that has prevented young people from attending Career Week before has been transportation. Not having reliable transportation also prevents youth from getting to and from interviews or work. This year, the Bridging the Gap program had its highest attendance rate for Career Week with the help of Lyft, which provided transportation to some of the participants.
Mile High United Way is partnering with Lyft through our 2-1-1 Help Center. With this partnership, we are providing transportation to qualifying individuals and families to get to medical and veteran benefit appointments, employment services, and access to food resources.
Mile High United Way’s Bridging the Gap Program
Our Bridging the Gap program serves youth ages 18-24 who have aged out of the child welfare system. Participants in the program are paired with an Independent Living Coach to work individually each person and guide them as they transition to adulthood. The program also ensures their basic needs are met with 36 months of stable housing using the Family Unification Program voucher. Learn more about our Bridging the Gap program.