Thrive by 25 launched its Youth Summit on Saturday, Jan. 9. The Summit, which was planned by youth for youth and was held at Sacred Heart University was attended by 217 people.
Thirteen young adults serving as Thrive by 25 Ambassadors developed the Summit. In addition to developing the Summit, the Ambassadors serve as an advisory group for Thrive by 25 and provide outreach to Fairfield County’s youth community. They focus on engaging young adults and employers to address solutions at the intersection of education, workforce development and jobs with the goal of ensuring the economic well being of our region’s young people by the time they reach age 25.
The attendees were young adults, ages 16-24 hailing from Bridgeport, Danbury, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Rowayton, Sandy Hook, Shelton, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport and Wilton.
Fairfield County’s Community Foundation Thrive by 25 Youth Ambassadors, ages 16- 23, led by Thrive by 25’s Director Alexis Bivens, conceptualized and executed the day long experience that included workshops and interactive activities including Building and Packaging Your Personal Brand; Preparing for Job Interview Success; Transitioning from College to the Workplace; and Speed Networking.
“Our young adult Ambassador team’s goal for Thrive by 25 was to have workshops to create awareness, practice time and concrete ways to position themselves for success on the job, in school, in the community and with their finances,” stated Alexis Bivens, Director, Thrive by 25, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.
Fairfield County’s Community Foundation embarked on the Thrive by 25 initiative dedicated to building pathways to success for young people in Fairfield County. It was developed based on the statistics derived from Fairfield County data for residents ages 16-24.
According to Fairfield County statistics, there are 100,000 young people ages 16-24 living in Fairfield County. One in eight young people are unemployed, which is the 15th highest rate in the nation. 800 students drop out of Fairfield County high schools each year. 81% of dropouts say they would have stayed in school if they felt they were learning relevant life skills.
“Thrive by 25 has become an essential aspect of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. We are dedicated to the success of this initiative and thus creating success for Fairfield County’s young adults,” stated Juanita James, CEO & President, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. “We are honored that today’s Summit was so well-received by the community at large and look forward to expanding the program in the future with the help of businesses and individuals. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Senator Blumenthal, Frank Savage and all of our speakers and sponsors for their support. Together we thrive!”
A highlight of the Thrive by 25 Summit was the keynote address offered by Frank Savage, a highly accomplished Global Wall Street Financier with a distinguished career in international banking, corporate finance, and global investment management who resides in Fairfield County. Mr. Savage spoke about the world economy; what young people need to really succeed; his personal account of being one of the first African-Americans to cross the color barrier to find success in high finance and his new initiative, Jobs America.
Thrive by 25 was honored to have Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal participate in the summit. “For the strength of our communities, families and our economy, it is vital that we find ways to ensure all young people have the education and support they need to excel in meaningful careers. Thrive by 25 is about young people supporting their peers in achieving their educational and career goals-a powerful model that I am proud to support,” stated Senator
Richard Blumenthal. Senator Blumenthal spoke about the need to reduce the burden of college loans on youth in the United States and his efforts to make higher education more affordable.
Thriving as a young person in Fairfield County takes on many forms. Three young and dynamic Thrive by 25 lunchtime speakers, RJ Mercede, Alison Riith, representing Fairfield County’s Community Foundation and Kevin Thompson, High School Program Director, Horizon Student Enrichment Program, New Canaan Country School, gave personal testimony of the opportunities they found in seemingly impossible challenges. Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s focus is committed to uplifting youth voice throughout the journey.