This summer, we’ve teamed up with the Schultz Family Foundation and Get Schooled to send three out-of-school and out-of-work youth on a cross-country road trip to discover what the world has to offer. The team will be interviewing inspiring individuals who have also struggled with adversity and overcome it to build lives and careers doing what they love.
Meet the Opportunity Youth Roadtrip team:
Summer has been looking for a support system her whole life. Raised in a foster care environment without a defined sense of family to guide her, she knows what it’s like to feel alone in the world, and dreams of becoming a crisis counselor to help others who face similar challenges. The kind of mentorship she wants to provide has been a life vest in her own life: she credits teachers and mentors as crucial pillars who helped her find the strength to see her own potential. She’s determined not to let her circumstances dictate who she can be, and sees this road trip as a chance to stretch her borders, explore who she is, and develop the confidence needed to follow her aspirations.
Here are some fun facts about Summer:
- Place she’s most excited to visit: Niagara Falls
- Favorite road trip snack: fruit salad
- What she wants to gain from the trip: “Confidence.”
Michael experienced persistent hardship from an early age that pushed him to desperate measures, tested his resilience—and ultimately shaped him into the youth advocate he is today. Raised in a poverty-stricken neighborhood, by age 12 he found himself involved in gang life to get by. He had dropped out of high school and finished a stint in a juvenile detention center when he resolved to turn his life around. A program called YouthBuild Schenectady gave him the support he needed to awaken his potential, and today Michael is a strong leader who guides others battling similar adversity. He hopes this road trip will give him the wisdom and experiences to further develop his purpose and share his stories with others.
Here are some fun facts about Michael:
- Place he’s most excited to visit: Los Angeles
- Favorite road trip snack: Animal Crackers
- What he hopes to gain from the trip: “I want to learn how to improvise–how to deal with the unexpected.”
Ryan hasn’t had it easy. Raised in a crime-ridden neighborhood, he has at times found himself down and out, hopping from couch to couch. Struggle has been ever-present, but it has also fueled his tremendous drive. Determined to care for his family and find a path he’s passionate about, Ryan tries to ignore the messages that tell him he won’t succeed and instead focuses on creative outlets like rapping and working hard at his job. He aspires to uplift his community in some way, and believes the opportunity to travel and meet mentors from similar backgrounds will open him up to a whole new world of possibility.
Here are some fun facts about Ryan:
- Place he’s most excited to visit: New York
- Favorite road trip snack: cookies
- What he hopes to gain from the trip: “Finding a new me. Creating a new self.”
Follow their adventure by checking out the hashtag on Instagram and Twitter: #OppYouth2015!