The United Way Youth Venture program held its third annual Spring Showcase at Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg on March 22 where student venture teams displayed their community projects.
The event gave over 200 students from around the region — representing close to 70 communities— a chance to show off their youth-led, youth-created service programs to the community.
Community members, officials and parents in attendance said they were impressed by the ideas and passion from the students.
“The ideas, energy and communication ability of these young people gives me great hope for our future. It is a joy to attend this event,” said Representative Stephan Hay.
The teams who attended the showcase displayed a wide range of projects, from those tackling issues such as the impact of cancer and overcrowding in animal shelters, to important but less thought of issues such as Irlen Syndrome and repairing the many deteriorating roads in our communities.
“I am so moved by the innovation and drive displayed by the students at the event,” said Mount Wachusett Community College President Jim Vander Hooven. “These are young people who are changing the world with their work and their ideas.”
Over 8,000 students have been actively engaged in the United Way Youth Venture program, with more than 100 teams working in the community across 24 schools, including districts of Fitchburg, Gardner, Leominster, Ayer Shirley, Ashburnham-Westminster, Winchendon, Parker Charter, Monty Tech, and MWCC.
The United Way Youth Venture Spring Showcase was made possible by: Great Wolf Lodge, P.J. Keating, Bemis Worldwide, Johnson Controls, Aubuchon Hardware, The Lexvest Group—Phoenix Park, Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, Anderson Bagley & Mayo Insurance, IC Federal Credit Union, Heywood Hospital, Enterprise Bank, Fidelity Bank and other community collaborators.
The United Way Youth Venture program is a partnership between the United Way of North Central Massachusetts, Mount Wachusett Community College and Ashoka’s Youth Venture. The program exists to empower youth through support for innovative, community outreach proposals and help them gain essential experience that will help them to become the future leaders and innovators of our community. Throughout the past year, almost 8,000 students have been actively engaged in the United Way Youth Venture program, with more than 50 teams working to be the change they wish to see within the community.