Students Speak Out on Youth Unemployment
Fundación Sanders invited SLU-Madrid students to present on risk factors in youth education at the international Close the Gap Seminar. Mikel Green ‘17 (Psychology), Adriana Meléndez ‘17 (Political Science/International Relations) and Maxim Sharakin ‘19 (Political Science/International Relations) joined youth workers from nine countries to address the issues that impede students from fully achieving their professional potential.
Each student fulfilled a different role at the foundation and at the conference. Adriana heads the social media team and played an integral part in conference logistics. Mikel presented on an anti-bullying app he helped develop that has the potential to keep students engaged in school. Maxim presented his research on a cooperative project to partner youth at risk of exclusion with small businesses in need of technological support.
With the goal of creating partnerships between non-formal education centers and local micro businesses, the seminar covered topics including sustainability, technology, entrepreneurship, bullying, and future-based learning. Fundación Sanders hopes to train 250 young adults (ages 12-19) to work in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and other digital content services needed by small businesses and start-up companies.
The work of SLU-Madrid students has not gone unnoticed by Robert Sanders, president of the foundation, who commented that the "fresh and creative energy" brought by the SLU-Madrid students "helped make the Close the Gap seminar a tremendous success."
Mikel shared his reflections as well: "Taking part in a seminar that had real-world applicability and being surrounded by people who are at the forefront of education reform was such an amazing and inspiring experience - it only solidified my goal of wanting to work in the humanitarian field so that I, too, may brighten the future of generations to come."