Developing young people’s desire to learn to prevent them from dropping out of school

Since it was founded in 2009, Energie Jeunes has had a single objective: to reduce the number of youths who drop out of school in France. Each year, 110,000 young people gradually stop attending classes and drop out of school before graduating. This is often the result of a vicious cycle combining family problems, lack of work, self-confidence loss, and discouragement. The association uses its unique methods to help every child reach their full potential.

In recognition of its efforts, Energie Jeunes received the Air Liquide Foundation Award for Societal Innovation.

Showing young people that they can succeed at school

Philippe Korda, the founder of the association, decided from the very beginning to base the project’s approach on a central concept: completing school. Rather than simply offering academic support, the program’s workers strive to help students develop regular learning and attendance habits through engagement, self-discipline, and improved self-esteem. Energie Jeunes is nationally accredited by the Ministry of National Education and provides three training sessions per grade and per school year. These sessions are led by teams made up of a volunteer employee and an expert from Energie Jeunes, working alongside a schoolteacher. Each session combines theory and practical exercises and includes discussion time for students, educational videos, real-life feedback, and individual and group work with key objectives for each grade. Students receive this support throughout their entire time in junior high school.

A nationwide project in France

Initially launched in priority education zones in the Ile-de-France region, where school dropouts rates are the highest, Energie Jeunes has since then expanded to 13 academic districts. Three hundred out of the thousand junior high schools in mainland France currently receive support from the association. “We started from scratch seven years ago,  55,000 students have been trained in 2015, and  80,000 children will be trained in 2016, with a number of projects openings,” explained Denis Yon, Executive Director of Energie Jeunes, who is in charge of recruiting volunteers. A four-year impact study, carried out by researchers at the Paris School of Economics and Sciences-Po Paris, was launched under the leadership of the Ministry of National Education in order to assess the effectiveness of the association’s support.

Essential resources donated by the Foundation and support from Air Liquide employees

For two years, the Air Liquide Foundation has provided funding for preparing teaching materials and training Air Liquide employees interested in volunteering for the program. “Since 2014, Energie Jeunes has relied on trained Air Liquide employee-volunteers to help with the association’s work in new schools in the Ile-de-France region, especially in the Val-de-Marne department, working alongside young Civil Service volunteers,” said Denis Yon. “This support from employees is important for these young people because they serve as an example of what students can achieve. Any Air Liquide employee can get involved in this project!” 

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To find out more

Energie Jeunes’s Website : www.energiejeunes.fr

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Testimonials

The association does a very challenging work with a high degree of professionalism. The Air Liquide employees act as coaches, setting them apart from teachers and parents. This helps foster interactions and create a feeling of trust with the students. Both students and employees learn a great deal from each other.

Aurelia Pittacos
Air Liquide