El Paso Opportunity Youth Action Network:

January 18, 2024

Young people in their late teens and early 20s stand a pivotal point as they transition into adulthood. They experience higher unemployment rates than older adults and are often not self-sufficient.

Disconnected young adults (often referred to as “opportunity youth”) are young people between the ages of 16-24 who are neither in school nor working and missing opportunities to earn and learn. Helping these young adults return to work or school provides short- and long-term benefits for them and their community.

In collaboration with several local, statewide, and nationwide organizations and academic institutions, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation has been working to create connections for youth and young adults in El Paso County by developing “”. is a resource hub with links to organizations that provide specialized services, such as school districts, work centers, and nonprofit organizations where youth can find employment, education, and mental health support.

Over the last few months, the Breakthrough915 steering committee has identified new resources with funding from the Aspen Institute and the Health Foundation for the City of El Paso’s Library Services team to launch a re-engagement center and Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Paso to pilot a mentoring program called Big Futures, in collaboration with Workforce Borderplex and El Paso Community College, to target opportunity youth, offering certifications, internships, and mentorship opportunities. The El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence (EPCAE) also received a grant to focus on Justice-involved Youth, incorporating personnel to support this demographic.

All youth deserve a chance to maximize their potential. Get connected by visiting

For more information, contact Sandra Day at

PDNHF Initiative: Healthy Kids

The goal of the Healthy Kids Initiative is to improve a range of health outcomes by engaging disconnected youth in the Paso del Norte region in high quality programs during out-of-school hours. The Health Foundation refers to “disconnected youth” as people between the ages of 5-17 who are not involved in out-of-school activities or not working, and “disconnected young adults” as people between the ages of 16-24 who are not in school and not working. Evidence indicates that youth who are involved in out-of-school programs are less likely to use drugs, alcohol, or be involved in criminal activity. Well-designed youth activities increase protective factors needed for youth to lead healthy and productive lives.

View Strategy Brief (English)

View Strategy Brief (Español)

Foundation Staff: Sandra Day

Additional Links

Healthy Kids

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