Social Engagement During Perilous Times:
Employment, Career Development and Supportive Community for Youth
“When you find your North Star, you know where you’re headed.”
— Rick Hanson
North Star for Youth is an online program that connects youth to opportunities for summer employment, internships and other learning opportunities. The goal is to facilitate positive social engagement with a particular emphasis on opportunities in the green sector. We believe providing youth with the opportunity to engage in society through employment, internships, volunteer work and meaningful learning in a supportive community environment fosters a hopeful vision of the future.
Mental wellbeing can be significantly enhanced by a sense of purpose and connection with others and this past year has been particularly challenging for youth who are about to launch into the adult world. Figuring out how they fit into society has been growing more difficult for youth for several years now, but the pandemic period has been particularly difficult.
North Star’s objective is to offer youth hope by helping them find summer employment, identify and pursue their career goals and assist them in engaging with their community in meaningful ways. Because opportunities for internships, volunteering and career enhancing work have diminished significantly since the pandemic began, it is also be critical to offer youth more support in finding ways to come out of this summer stronger while nurturing sense of optimism about their futures.
The Pilot Program
Though Covid has made for a difficult and sometimes strange time, we think there is reason for hope. There are ways to get connected, possibilities for summer jobs, interesting internships and some opportunities to learn and prepare for the future.
North Star piloted its initial offering on May 29 via zoom with 37 participants in attendance. Co-hosted by a member of the North Star team and a youth representative North Star Saturday Morning – Making the Most of Your Summer.
Here is what the program looked like:
Hosted by Nancy Bradshaw and Jenna Quon –
Turning Volunteer Positions into Paid Employment – Brennan Strandberg-Salmon
Job Finding Techniques– Jacquelyn de Raadt
Youth Entrepreneurship – Loreen Long
What’s Out There: Jobs, Opportunities and Youth Employment Programs – Kim McLeod and Todd McGowan
Volunteering – Nancy Bradshaw
Our team is composed of people involved in a variety of careers and background including green business, non-profit, documentary film making, counselling, business entrepreneurs, tech, video game production, green building, teaching, retail, recycling, coop placement, circular economy, authors, music production and social entrepreneurship. This is a project of the non-profit Green Technology Education Centre .