Dreaming about the Future: Education and Employment at Avenues
In 2015 we deepened our commitment to education and employment support by hiring a full time, on-site Education and Career Specialist. Staff member Sarah Larsen was promoted to this position in December.
"Many of our youth spend two hours a day getting to school on a city bus. Until they came to Avenues, many were sleeping on that bus," Sarah said about barriers homeless youth face in completing their education. "It's challenging for a young person to think about their future, especially when they're used to thinking about where they're going to sleep tomorrow."
When a youth enters our programs, Sarah meets with them to talk about their goals. She hopes to help youth develop a three step, five-year plan. The plan starts by helping the youth dream about where they want to be in the future.
Most young people don't have a vision of having a career rather than a job, and for many youth, they've been told certain jobs are for them, like working in a warehouse," Sarah said. "I ask them if they want to be doing that for the rest of their life, and most often they say no."
Sarah said that after a couple of meetings, youth start dreaming about their long-term career dreams such as being a business owner or a general manager. Together they then start identifying steps to make that happen.
"The youth and I identify what they can be doing in the next three months, like an internship or training program. We identify what they can do for the next year to help pay for things like college. Then I ask them what they can see them self doing in the next five years, and what steps they'll take to get there," Sarah said.