How Youth Opportunity is helping me adjust during COVID-19

July 23, 2020

Darius J. | Youth Opportunity Ambassador | Chicago, Illinois, USA

In 2018, McDonald’s Corporation announced a new initiative called Youth Opportunity, with a global goal to reduce barriers to employment for two million young people by 2025 through pre-employment job readiness training, employment opportunities and workplace development programs.

In partnership with local community organizations and the International Youth Foundation (IYF), McDonald’s offers a pre-employment work-readiness and soft skills training program called Passport to Success. This program is designed to help young people learn valuable soft skills and set them up for future success. In addition to being considered for job opportunities at company-owned and franchised restaurants, graduates from the training have the chance to pursue education and employment opportunities with potential employers across a variety of industries like healthcare, supply chain logistics and IT.

Program participants in Chicago and Washington, DC were selected by their trainers and mentors to be Youth Opportunity Ambassadors to share their thoughts on the program, highlight what they are learning and how they are using their newly acquired skills to change the world. Meet Darius below. A Youth Opportunity Ambassador from Chicago, Illinois who, like the rest of us, is adjusting to everyday life during a pandemic.

I am using the skills that I learned now, especially time management and managing my emotions.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m the oldest of seven kids, so I try step up and set a good example for my brothers and sisters. Right now, I work part-time at a meat processing plant and I just finished my freshman year at City Colleges of Chicago. I'm really interested in literature and narrative writing.

Youth Opportunity Ambassador Darius J. from Chicago, Illinois, USA.

How have you been coping during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Quarantine has been tough. My mother, grandmother and grandfather all tested positive for COVID-19. Thankfully, they’ve recovered now, but my mother and grandfather were very sick. During the school year, all of us had to adjust to a new routine. Every morning, my siblings woke up and went to school online. My mother is a teacher, so she was also working online through video chat. Unfortunately, my job cut hours and since I was exposed to the virus, I had to self-quarantine for two weeks. Adjusting back to going to work was difficult but I’m still happy that I had a job. When it first started, it was very hard to adjust to, especially when my mother tested positive for the virus.

Youth Opportunity Ambassador Darius J. from Chicago, Illinois, USA.

How have you benefited from Youth Opportunity?

I am using the skills that I learned now, especially time management and managing my emotions. The lessons help me not get overwhelmed.

Youth Opportunity Ambassador Darius J. from Chicago, Illinois, USA.

How do you feel about being able to access the Passport to Success training digitally during COVID-19?

I haven't had the chance to complete any online learning during COVID-19, but I’m excited to have the opportunity to still learn lessons from the program.

Youth Opportunity Ambassador Darius J. from Chicago, Illinois, USA.

To learn more about Youth Opportunity, please visit

Latest Stories