5 Wonderful Organizations Helping Young People Thrive

People say they believe that the lives of children are precious, but throughout our society there are barriers to stability, happiness, and success for young people. Luckily, there are non-profit organizations that exist to ameliorate this suffering. In no particular order, this list shares some great groups working hard to give kids a helping hand.

Kicking off our list at #1 is Identity. This organization aims to create opportunities for Latino and other historically-underserved youth to realize their highest potential and thrive. Each year, Identity assists thousands of in-school and out-of-school youth and their families who live in high-poverty areas of Montgomery County, Maryland, and who are most at-risk for poor academic and economic life outcomes.

Identity has a number of initiatives to achieve its mission. It offers various academic support programs as well as workforce development; the latter assists youth transition to higher education and the world of work through ESL classes, GED preparation, internships, and more.

For #2, we present the North Cascades Institute. Its mission is to inspire and empower environmental stewardship for all through experiences in nature. Since 1986, the organization has worked to connect people, nature, and community through hands-on study of the natural and cultural history of the Pacific Northwest.

Its Environmental Learning Center, located on Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park, hosts a number of activities. Youth Leadership Adventures are immersive wilderness experiences for high school students. Participants can canoe, backpack, camp, and complete stewardship projects while receiving training in outdoor leadership, field science, and public speaking.

Coming in at #3 is the Bath Area Family YMCA in Maine. The community center's goal is to promote the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities by focusing on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.

Its youth programs range from individual fitness classes to aquatics to afterschool care, including a special enrichment program for preschoolers. Its summertime day camps offer a variety of activities for kids, such as outdoor games, pool time, beach trips, and other weekly excursions.

Next up, at #4, we have the Hetrick-Martin Institute, located in New York City. It provides free year-round programs and services for LGBTQ youth and allies ages 13-24 and helps organize and produce events for young people throughout the NYC and New Jersey areas.

Created in 2013, HMI’s Center for LGBTQ Youth Advocacy and Capacity Building advocates on behalf of LGBTQ youth in an effort to influence policy on local, national, and international levels. In addition, HMI partners with Harvey Milk High School to provide students with in-school college counseling and access to all HMI programs and services.

To close our list at #5, we have Urban Gateways, based in Chicago, Illinois. This nonprofit aims to engage young people in arts experiences to inspire creativity and impact social change. Its programs cover a range of artistic disciplines, including music, dance, theater, digital media, and more.

Urban Gateways operates a youth media center called Street Level. Young people who participate in its programs can make anything from a mixtape to a movie with access to computers, studio equipment, and cameras. The organization offers free classes, clubs, workshops, and more with digital media artists.