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Giving Tuesday: Ariel and UTEC’s Partnership

3 min read

Of all the hard work UTEC staff does, the most important aspect to their approach is to build trusting relationships. Developing this skill is where Ariel fits in.

There are tons of reasons I’m proud to work at the Ariel Group. One of the main reasons is that we take giving back seriously and do so throughout they year with a variety of nonprofits. (You can see our work highlighted on social media through the hashtag #ArielServes.) In celebration of #GivingTuesday, I’d like to highlight our newest nonprofit partner UTEC, an organization that believes in second chances and proves they are possible.


Over the last year we’ve built a relationship with UTEC, which serves the communities of Lowell and Lawrence, MA, and strives to “…ignite and nurture the ambition of proven-risk youth to trade violence and poverty for social and economic success.” Prior to being introduced to UTEC I had not heard the term “proven-risk,” which are young people, 16-24 years old, who are currently in a gang and/or have been incarcerated.

UTEC provides a pathway for young people to turn their lives around; young people who are most often overlooked and disregarded. These young people work hard – really, really hard – to change their lives. As they do, they raise their children, pay taxes, engage in civic advocacy, and become good neighbors instead of destroying their own lives and negatively impacting their community by walking in and out the revolving door of the criminal justice system.

UTEC measures the “social and economic success” of their mission in three critical areas for these young people:

  1. reduced recidivism and criminal activity;
  2. increased employability, and
  3. increased educational attainment.

UTEC’s successful model of serving proven-risk youth works.

Of the young people UTEC is working with, 89% are not arrested during their involvement and 82% are employed 2 years after leaving their programming and counseling.

By comparison, in the rest of the state of Massachusetts, 51% of youth are re-arraigned w/in 1 year and 76% are re-arraigned within 3 years (with similar stats in most other states).

How Ariel Fits

Of all the hard work UTEC staff does, the most important aspect to their approach is to build trusting relationships. Developing this skill is where Ariel fits in. We’ve been teaching people how to strengthen their relationship-building muscles for 25 years. And, to be honest, the folks at UTEC are already power lifters when it comes to building trusting relationships! Our collective aim is to learn from one another and move from good-to-great together.

We collaborated with UTEC staff to develop the following organizational goals:

  • To empower both youth and staff to integrate the knowledge, attitude, language and practices of Presence in ways that are organic to each individual and UTEC as a whole, and
  • To cultivate the idea and practice of Presence as a way of increasing employability for youth, leveraging it on the job for youth and staff, and include it as part of professional development for staff.

But make no mistake: this effort puts Ariel in new territory. We have to build our own foundation of trust with UTEC youth as outsiders to the organization. Developing a curriculum to accomplish the above goals will necessitate experimentation and innovation. In this way, and many others, Ariel will receive as much as we give as part of this partnership.

#GivingTuesday = #ChooseUTEC

If you’re thinking of making a donation on Giving Tuesday – or sometime during this holiday season – and have not selected a nonprofit, consider joining us in supporting UTEC.

The other way for you to #ChooseUTEC is to support some of their workforce development projects that provide on-the-job training for youth:

Merry Giving Tuesday to all! And to all, a good night!

To see our work with other nonprofits, go here.


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