You may already know that having a passion for what you do and having the right supports and tools in place to pursue it is so important when you’re developing a career and taking steps to better your life. And as a team of creative professionals who is passionate about fostering creativity within business and beyond, this past month we found an opportunity to do so towards bettering our local communitie’s youth.
You might be surprised to know that over any other state, Florida prosecutes more children as adults for felonies in the criminal system. And through our research we found that what attributes to this problem is the fact that many of those teenagers that become labeled felons while still teenagers have recently exited the state’s juvenile criminal justice system without the adequate support in place for making the transition out of it. This is because the criminal justice system has minimal educational and rehabilitation programs in places, programs that are crucial for teens to make a peaceful transition back into home-life and to avoid re-entry into the system as adults.
And the expressedly team was so pleased to find and partner with non-profit Eckerd Connects this past week and for the second time this year, through their initiative Project Bridge, which is filling the gap in the lack of existing transitional services for underserved youth leaving the Florida juvenile justice system. Through collaboration with other organizations and community leaders, Project Bridge provides education, mentoring, vocational, and transportation services to at-risk youths toward the achievement of leading stable and successful lives.
And on Thursday, August 19th, four teenagers from Project Bridge visited expressedly’s Largo office to receive hands-on career development and vocational support as they get ready to enter the workforce. The teens received guidance from expressedly’s founder and CEO, Chris Williams, who believes he narrowly avoided entering the criminal justice system himself, only escaping this fate through the positive guidance of a role model.
Because of his beliefs about positive mentorship Chris sought out the Project Bridge career day for their youth saying,
“It’s our responsibility as business leaders to give back to the local community where we live, so it can continue to thrive. Young people will always be the future professionals that uplift our standards. I am where I am today because I made the decision to change, and I was only able to do that by someone giving me the opportunity to realize my own potential.”
After gaining some perspective on leadership from Chris, the youth spent the afternoon learning about the creative services industry in areas of marketing, graphic design, copywriting, and web development, all offered by us here at expressedly. The teens also conducted a brand strategy exercise and gained valuable feedback on their creative ideas from expressedly’s employees and Chris, further fostering their career development and interest in the creative services industry.
Going forward, the expressedly creative services creative team will continue the partnership with Project Bridge on an ongoing basis. You know it’s our pleasure to be a positive force of influence for underserved youth on their path to becoming integral citizens of our local communities, so that everyone has a chance to move forward, grow their creativity, and live up to their full potentials!