Opportunity Youth United

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In the United States, 5.6 million young people between 16 and 24 are neither in school nor employed. About half of us are living in poverty. Opportunity Youth United is a movement of young leaders who represent the real lives behind these numbers: We have suffered all manner of difficulties, including child abuse, foster care placements, homelessness, traumatic loss, incarceration, discrimination and violence. We have emerged from these experiences not defeated but empowered—empowered to drive our own lives and futures and to reach back and strengthen our communities for our peers, families, and future generations. Those of us who have spent time out of school and out of work—formerly called at-risk or disconnected youth—appreciate the new language that has emerged: “opportunity youth.” It accurately reflects the twin facts that we are seeking opportunity and that we offer a major opportunity to our nation if it will invest in us and our peers.

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