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Young People Facing Challenges Need Schools & Services to Work Together to Support and Nurture Them as They Build Their Futures

January 24, 2022

Blog by Mishaela Durán, President & CEO
This piece is featured in the 1/24 The 74 Newsletter

When I first saw West Side Story, one moment brought me back to my high school principal’s office. The Jets were singing, “We ain’t no delinquents, we’re misunderstood. Deep down inside us there is good!”

I could have said the same thing when my principal was suspending me for truancy. He told me I would never amount to anything.

Welcoming the First Cohort of Opportunity Youth Congressional Liaisons

November 3, 2021

“Wow,” my young colleague said, his voice echoing off the high marble walls in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. “I didn’t know what to expect when I came here, but now that I have done it, I realize this is what I have wanted to do my whole life: share my story with people who can make a difference.”

I live for these moments, working in partnership with Opportunity Youth United to help Opportunity Youth—young people ages 16 to 24 who are not connected to school or the workforce—meet with their elected officials. Of all the advocacy activities we do, these are the most likely to change hearts, minds, and policies, and have been the most important driver of the Reconnecting Youth Campaign’s greatest successes: securing a cumulative $195 million additional federal funding for Opportunity Youth programs over two years; securing $518 million in the COVID recovery packages; and potentially billions more in the Build Back Better Act making its way through Congress.

Changing the odds for young people has never been more important