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United Way Youth Venture Initiative



Foster Our Communities Future Leaders


Our Youth Venture program has been supporting "Venture Teams" of local students from middle school to college level since 2002. 



Participants learn lessons in leadership, social responsibility, and professional communication. They are also prepared to be valuable community members. 



Statistics show the level of personal impact this program has on its participating students:

  • 66% say they have motivated other students to take action on community issues
  • 67% say they now enjoy assuming leadership roles
  • 87% say they believe people their age can influence policy decisions 

To donate to the United Way Youth Venture Initiative, please CLICK HERE



Young people are our future. You may have heard it a million times, but often as a society we do not look to them for solutions as we should. Youth are a valuable resource of inspiration, talent, knowledge and energy; and they do truly hold the future in their hands. Shouldn't we then be investing more in them, and listening more to them? These are questions Bill Drayton, founder of Youth Venture, was not afraid to answer "yes." He recognized that young people are a vibrant-yet largely overlooked and underutilized- source of power of capacity for creating and leading positive community change. Young people involved in Youth Venture develop leadership skills, build confidence, provide countless services to their communities, and most importantly, are given the chance to make lasting positive change on others, as well as themselves. At the same time they learn how to confront problems, face them, and find creative solutions.


Leaders within the United Way of North Central Massachusetts realized that we as a community were not meaningfully acting to help cultivate the next generation of leaders, volunteers, and philanthropists. Prior to the formation of this partnership, the United Way was unknown and irrelevant to far too many young people. Too much of our investment in youth was in the form of remedial and intervention services; the United Way wanted to also invest in youth proactively and offer the opportunity to contribute to the betterment of their communities.


Believing in the capacity of young people to create change, in 2002 the United Way partnered with Youth Venture, and later in 2005, with Mount Wachusett Community College. In just seven short years we have seen the benefits of Drayton's vision of investing in young "social entrepreneurs." It is our hope that through the United Way Youth Venture experience, young people of North Central Massachusetts will carry over the positive experience into later aspects of life; and elder generations will begin to see youth as capable, responsible, valuable members of society. Becoming a changemaker is something that a young person will hold onto for the rest of their life. Empowering young people is perhaps the best and biggest investment for a better future for all of us.


United Way Youth Venture partners with numerous middle and high schools, Mount Wachusett Community College and two community-based school programs. 


United Way Youth Venture Schools

To Learn More About United Way Youth Venture Teams- CLICK HERE


Ashburnham-Westminster School District

  • Oakmont Regional High School

  • Overlook Middle School


Ayer-Shirley Regional School District

  • Ayer-Shirley Regional High School

  • Ayer-Shirley Regional Middle School


Fitchburg School District

  • Fitchburg High School

  • Goodrich Academy

  • McKay Arts Academy

  • Longsjo Middle School

  • South Street Elementary School

Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School


Gardner High School


Girl Scout Troop 61150


Leominster School District

  • Leominster High School 

  • Samoset Middle School

  • Sky View Middle School

  • Frances Drake Elementary School

  • Northwest Elementary School​


Montachusett Regional Technical Vocational High School


Mount Wachusett Community College


Winchendon School District

  • Murdock High School

  • Murdock Middle School

  • Toy Town Elementary School



Interested in forming a Youth Venture Team?

Contact United Way Youth Venture of North Central Massachusetts at (978) 630-9531 or email at


Interested in bringing United Way Youth Venture to your community?

Contact United Way Youth Venture of North Central Massachusetts at:

United Way Youth Venture
Mount Wachusett Community College
444 Green Street
Gardner, MA 01440
If you have general inquiries, contact:

Contact United Way Youth Venture of North Central Massachusetts at (978) 630-9201.

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