During Week 1 we conducted over 30 interviews with City Hall, Government Owned Entities (GOEs) and education institutions. This week we are engaging with various organizations representing the business community and industry, as well some of the larger employers of Youth in the region. But most importantly (at least for me) we are getting out and about meeting Youth in various Buffalo neighborhoods.
Loaded with our Tim Hortons donuts (local delicacy) we visit students at a CTE (Career & Technical Education) School, Hutchinson Central technical Highshool, where we met with senior high school students; a group of out of school youth attending a Computers for Children program, and more out of school youth going for their GED at the Adult Education Center.
We explored a variety of themes including what they want to do/be ‘when they grow up’, what they did or did not like about school, why they dropped out of school; whether they felt they were being adequately prepared and/or had the support required to fulfil their ambitions; did they have internet access or smart phones; and the list goes on.
We were very impressed by the level of motivation, focus and sense of personal responsibility these young adults and teenagers have – despite their significant adversity many of them face. We are extremely grateful to all the youth sharing their experiences with us and for our Buffalo contacts for setting these meetings up for us.