Local Enactus initiative launches into third year

By Public Affairs | August 2, 2019

Okanagan College Media Release

Good things come in threes, and after two successful years, Okanagan College’s Enactus team is ready to launch Accelerate Youth into a third year of growth this fall.

Designed by Enactus students and led by third-year business administration student Jessica Egyed, the Accelerate Youth project teaches practical life skills in the areas of financial and nutritional literacy to students within the alternative school system. Piloted at the Westside Learning Centre in the fall of 2017, the program saw rapid growth after eager students jumped at the chance to learn new skills.

Receiving a $6,000 grant from the TELUS Thompson Okanagan Community Board in the fall of 2018 provided the Enactus team with the funds necessary to expand in their second year at two additional locations, Central School and the Rutland Learning Centre.

In response to enrolment jumping from 25 students in the pilot to 72 students across all three locations, the Accelerate Youth volunteer team also grew from four to 17 volunteers. Over the past year alone, they put in over 1,000 hours and facilitated 50 in-class sessions.

“The impact our team has been able to have in the lives of the students has been amazing and extremely rewarding,” says Egyed. “As the students realized what Accelerate Youth was teaching them was relevant to the challenges they face day to day, they really embraced the program.”

As the program grows, so does the curriculum, enhanced this past year to include a comprehensive budgeting project, career preparation, social responsibility and project management elements. A continued partnership with a local non-profit organization, Start Fresh, provides students with hands-on opportunities to enhance culinary knowledge and skills and a new partnership with CIBC sees representatives lend their expertise on everyday banking.

At Central School, the curriculum focused primarily on social responsibility and project management. Students learned the importance of how simple actions can have a lasting impact in their communities. Accelerate Youth’s team guided the students through the process of planning and executing an event to raise funds for a beneficiary of their choice. Their event, “Shout Out for Youth” raised a total of $790 for the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs’ Youth Shelter. The shelter is a voluntary resource for youth ages 13-18 that are homeless or at risk of homelessness and have no safe alternatives. The connection between the Accelerate Youth program and shelter is also a personal one; several of the students participating have accessed the shelter in the past.

“When young people lead an initiative that benefits young people they set an example for all of us to follow,” says Sarah MacKinnon, Youth Housing Director of the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club. “It takes a village to house a child and we are thrilled that the students who participated in this project are part of our village.”

The Enactus team regularly competes in regional and national expositions, and recently earned a second place finish in the Youth Empowerment category at the Enactus Canada Regional Exposition for the impact of Accelerate Youth. These competitions provide opportunities for Enactus teams from across the country to showcase the impact of projects to panels of business professionals. The team hopes to continue building on their success as they anticipate more growth this fall

For more information on Accelerate Youth or Enactus Okanagan College, contact Enactus OC President, Jacob Pushor atpresident@enactusoc.ca




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