The Barrett Family Foundation is donating $25 million to World Vision Canada to expand a program that improves the lives of vulnerable youth in Latin America by offering them a better and brighter future through education.
The Barrett family, through The Barrett Family Foundation, made their first gift to the Vision for Vulnerable Youth Initiative in 2016. Responding to its positive impact on thousands of youth in Honduras and El Salvador, the family, in partnership with World Vision Canada, will expand the initiative into five additional countries – Guatemala, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia. The Barrett Family Foundation and World Vision Canada plan to reach thousands more vulnerable adolescents and youth across the combined seven countries.
In Latin America, youth represent more than 40% of the population, amounting to nearly 20 million young people. High unemployment is leading to rising gang violence and skyrocketing youth homicide rates. World Vision’s Youth Ready, Vision for Vulnerable Youth initiative combines training, mentoring, peer support, internships and seed capital to help youth transform their lives for the better as they learn and develop life and livelihood skills.
Robert Barrett, President and CEO of Polytainers Inc., and founder of the Barrett Family Foundation recently travelled to Latin America with other members of the foundation to see World Vision’s program in action.
“Seeing the program firsthand was an incredible experience and enabled us to appreciate both the real context and the real impact of World Vision’s work,” said Bob Barrett after returning from Honduras, a country with one of the highest homicide rates in the world, and where gang violence threatens everyday life. “One day, we were in a neighbourhood and were told a gang controlled one side of the street and another gang controlled the other. But we walked straight down the middle of the street with World Vision. We were deeply impressed with how well respected World Vision is and how its programs are creating new academic and entrepreneurial business opportunities for vulnerable youth,” Bob Barrett said.
The Barrett Family Foundation is committed to funding research and learning. They believe that education is a critical step in a young person’s life and allows them to build a brighter future for themselves, their families and their communities.
“The $25 million gift from the Barrett Family Foundation is bold, visionary and transformative. Thousands more vulnerable youth in Latin America are going to have a chance at life in all its fullness,” said Michael Messenger, President and CEO of World Vision Canada. “Together, with donors like Bob and Francine Barrett, we are building a better world for millions of vulnerable children. We thank the Barrett Family Foundation for continuing to believe in our mission to bring brighter futures to youth and children growing up in dangerous and fragile places.”