On March 18, 2015, Mentor Foundation USA started a dialog with Richmond’s business leaders about the return on investment of positive youth development programs.

29 March 2015 | News

As an initiative to bring business leaders and influencers together to raise awareness for positive youth development, Spurrier Media Group invited Mentor Foundation USA along with David Mineta, Deputy Director for the White House Office for Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and Julie Whipple, Global Director of Social Corporate Responsibility for Qlik Technologies to talk about the ROI of SCR.

David Mineta, who oversees demand reduction, prevention and recovery programs at the ONDCP, stressed the importance of communities coming together to prevent drug abuse among youth. He reminded the audience that there are more than 40,000 drug related death in the United States every year but also highlighted the fact that most young people are not using drugs. This is why Mentor Foundation USA’s programs are so important as they provide a platform for young people to speak up and out against drugs is invaluable.

“We could not be more pleased with the warm welcome we received…but I’m not surprised. Investing in the future of our nation’s youth is everyone’s business and responsibility and we are looking forward to bring our programs to the Richmond area,” said Gunilla Girardo, President & CEO of Mentor Foundation USA.

Julie Whipple talked about return of investment of SCR for Qlik Technology by explaining how an Authentic Career Experience (A.C.E.) with Mentor Foundation had brought together the Qlik team to have an impact on students in the William Penn School District in Pennsylvania where Qlik is headquartered. “Although Qlik has a long tradition of investing in social corporate responsibility on a global level it was important for us to have an impact on local youth, where we work and live in Radnor, PA,” stated Julie.

“Our A.C.E. programs are customized experiential learning opportunities that expose students grades 6-12 to careers within various industries,” explained Jamila Sams, Program Director for Mentor Foundation USA. Adding that: “You can’t be what you can’t see. We want every child to have access to a variety of career paths and choices.”

The William Penn students were challenged with connecting what they have been learning in their 12thgrade statistics course with a real-world scenario that showed how data drives change. The question the students asked: “How can we use data gathered from our peers to develop a change project that would have an impact for years to come?” The topic the students focused on was: “Stressors of teens and how their peers cope with stress.”

The compelling data from the 386 students that were surveyed yielded the following three change project proposals:

  • Listening to music while working independently (at least 75% of the students surveys said that listening to music was a positive way to relieve stress).
  • Student led clubs for after-school physical activities. (46% indicated that they do some form of physical activity to relieve stress).
  • Revitalization of the role of guidance counselors. (This was based on 45% of the students indicating that they do not having someone to talk to and how it affects their stress levels).

All of the change projects that the students proposed would cost very little—if anything—to implement and would help relieve some of the stressors that the majority of the students experience.

Julie explained that “Qlik believes in ensuring that the next generation is equipped with the technical skills to be successful AND the desire to learn and innovate. That is exactly what this Authentic Career Experiences has provided and I am so excited that our team at Qlik had the opportunity to witness the “magic of discovery” during the project.” The William Penn students’ change projects will have an impact at their school for years to come and that is something to truly be proud of.

“We are also proud to partner with Mentor Foundation USA on an exciting initiative that brings us together to help young people. We are all passionately committed to improving the lives of youth in inner city Richmond, where high school drop-out rates are some of the highest in the country. Young people need our help in opening doors and opportunities for a successful future,”  said Donna Spurrier, President of Spurrier Media Group adding that: “It has always been important to me and Spurrier Media Group to give back to the community. That’s why I have chosen to have my business in the City of Richmond where I know my tax dollars are needed.”

For more information about how you can get involved in supporting Richmond youth, contact Jamila Sams, Program Director at Mentor Foundation USA at [email protected].