By: Jane Meseck, Director of Corporate Citizenship, Microsoft
It’s been ten years, and the view doesn’t look that much different. Domineisha, a 24-year-old former high school dropout now headed to college and with an impressive internship offer at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, can’t see the path over the opportunity divide.
“I had to turn down the internship,” she says quietly, adjusting her bright orange apron in between customers at the cash register of Home Depot. Like many low-income youth, she lives with her family with its own financial struggles. Her single mother is struggling to find work, and her sister, age 19, is a single mom of a toddler who also lives under the same roof. They all depend on Domineisha’s income. She couldn’t give up a weekly paycheck to participate in a 5-week internship that only pays a small stipend at the end of the program.
Domineisha, 24, is a Los Angeles youth who just finished a decade-long journey to obtain her high school degree, and is headed to college in the fall.
We met Domineisha through LA Conservation Corps, a 27-year-old local nonprofit that helps inner-city LA youth like Domineisha gain on-the-job training and paid work experience. She came to the program on a friend’s recommendation.
“My first day there, we had to restore an alley. It was the kind of alley where the LAPD had to come and remove the people living in the alley just so we could clean it,” Domineisha balks a little, then laughs. “It was a good experience.”
Domineisha is like many youth on the other side of the opportunity divide who lack the resources and the help they need to pursue opportunities to improve their lives. This is why Microsoft created Give for Youth, an online micro-giving portal in partnership with GlobalGiving, designed for anyone to help fund and follow the dreams of young people around the world. Nonprofits such as LA Conservation Corps can upload youth stories and projects, so that you can discover stories like Domineisha’s. Today, you can help Domineisha by donating to a $1,000 fund, the equivalent of her cashier income for the period of the five week internship — the only barrier that prevents her from taking this life-changing opportunity.
Starting today until June 18, we are also increasing your ability to make an impact. We’re giving away $150,000 in matching funds, at a 50% match to every dollar. You can see all the eligible microprojects here and learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to empower 300 million young people around the world by providing opportunities in education, employment and entrepreneurship, through Microsoft YouthSpark.
We asked Domineisha where the road was headed for her, if she was able to complete the internship and college. She wants to earn enough money so that her family can move. Right now they live in South Central LA. “It has its moments,” she says. “But I’d move us somewhere better, safer. To a better life.”