Virgin Mobile is up to some serious good these days – and it goes beyond their tech offerings.
Back in 2008, the company decided to do something about the often-overlooked problem of homeless/at-risk youth with their Virgin Mobile RE*Generation campaign. All funds raised have supported crisis services for these disadvantaged youth.
If you don’t think it’s a problem, consider this: 35,000 youth across Canada live in emergency shelters, and up to 6,000 sleep on the streets on any given night.
While most young professionals (YPs) have found and supported causes that they’re passionate about by now, most naturally gravitate towards ones that have affected them in some capacity. You know – the heavy hitters like cancer, heart disease, or mental health awareness.
With that in mind, Virgin Mobile recently did a survey of Canadians to identify their opinions and knowledge when it comes to homeless and at-risk youth. And it was no small undertaking – the online survey included 1,036 Canadians between the ages of 20 and 80, with half the sample falling into the 20-30 age category.
According to the results, we need to be doing more to help at-risk youth in our own backyard. When it comes to at-risk youth, 77 per cent of respondents in their 20s agree that issues of at-risk and homeless youth should be addressed (compared to 84 per cent of older respondents), and three quarters of all youth agree that helping at-risk/homeless youth can help them emerge from the cycle of poverty.
Those stats aren’t particularly surprising.
What is surprising, however, is the degree to which the young people surveyed have been affected by homelessness. Nine per cent of youth surveyed were homeless at some point in their life, 19 per cent had couch-surfed at some point in their life, and an alarming 53 per cent think they have some risk of becoming homeless. Furthermore, one in three Canadians know someone who has been homeless.
That’s not exactly good news.
We mean, it’s tough enough to get a decent paying job in our cities – let alone if you’re homeless. Almost half (47 per cent) of Canadian youth have an income less than a $30k/year, while 32 per cent of youth make less than 20k/year. And these jobs don’t come purely from hard work: 42 per cent believe they got their first career job through connections.
Homeless kids don’t have such connections, let alone a fixed address.
Not being in school or in the labour force is the biggest issue to address when it comes to homeless/at risk youth. Without such opportunities, the cycle of poverty only increases.
Countless youth are locked out of experiences, and the job market.
That’s why Virgin Mobile has recently shifted its focus from providing roofs and beds for homeless youth to helping at-risk and homeless youth gain skills to get #UnLockedOut from jobs
And you can do something about it. Help them unlock these opportunities: it really couldn’t be easier to do so. Text ‘REGEN’ to 30333; all texts will donate $5 to Virgin Mobile RE*Generation.
With your help, Virgin Mobile RE*Generation is committed to helping 450 at-risk and homeless youth get and keep jobs by 2017.
And that’s just the beginning.