For those who want to make a significant difference in the lives of others, here is one great way to do so: invest in opportunities for low-income youth.  They are people who, without a charitable second chance, are likely destined for a life of menial work and bouts of joblessness.

Anyone who has ever met Toni Elka immediately becomes aware of the power that giving has to transform young people’s lives.  She is founder of Future Chefs, a nonprofit that coaches high school students in their pursuit of a career in the culinary arts and helps them to develop a plan for successfully moving their lives forward.  Listen to a speech Elka gave in Boston earlier this week.  I was utterly moved when she asked all the young men and women in attendance who had been helped by Future Chefs and a similar nonprofit, Year Up, to stand.  The fruits of these organizations’ efforts were there in plain sight.

For the many low-income youth who do not have supportive adult role models in their lives, becoming connected to these types of organizations offers second chances in life – opportunities they probably would never otherwise get.