Sonia Blount, the founder of Youth for Change stated the mission statement of the organization: “To empower youth through community service, mentoring and educational enrichment programs, that will impact social, economical, and environmental change through youth leadership and development.”
Blount is a Philadelphia native, who is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts Degree at Temple University, majoring in Human Resources management. Growing up, Sonia worked with a number of organizations; her most recent collaboration was with Bridgeway, Inc. During her time spent collaborating with the different organizations she experienced planning and facilitating youth activities such as professional development, tutoring, and mentoring.
Youth For Change developed through a dance class Blount instructed and choreographed, at her parents church. She observed the class enlarge from a small group of 15 to 30 dancers. This is when she came up with the idea to increase the proactive programs for youth. She had a conversation with her best friend that helped put their ideas into action. The idea was to focus on the different activities the youth in the community can do in order to provide positive change.
Blount always enjoyed helping others when she was a youth; she wanted to be president of the United States. Her goals changed to an entrepreneur and she wanted to own a restaurant. Now, that she’s an adult, she still wants to be an entrepreneur but she wants to own a community center that provides professional and career resources for students and their families.
Blount’s inspiration to create achievable goals and be consistent in her life is her former ninth grade teacher, Ms. Fenwick. Her role model remains in her life, helping her realize the full potential and impact Blount has on her community.
The focus for Youth For Change is youth responsibility. Blount and the others that work with her, want to develop youth to be responsible for themselves and their community and others around them. In doing so, they provide members with hands on recreational activities. They donate their time to monthly community service days, where the youth are able to share what they have learned with the community.
Blount’s goal for the next five years is to be able to offer business education programs for teenagers to learn about entrepreneurship and professional development. She plans to achieve these goals by collaborating with high school and recruiting students that are interested in learning the field. She also plans to network and build relationships with organizations and incorporate them in Youth For Change mission.
Her advice to those that want to start a non-profit is to “be consistent with your passion but be patient with the process. It’s a growing process and not just about starting and getting everything done at once. You must have a focus, create short and long-term goals for yourself that will allow you to make a standard that is measurable and achievable. And remember to network with positive people and ask a series of questions.”
Rhonda Bartlett is a fourth-year student majoring in professional studies with minors in theatre and journalism. She can be reached at RB681837@wcupa.edu.