NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) youth rates in Europe are generally higher in rural regions than in urban areas and the share in rural regions is constantly increasing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, young people became even more vulnerable as they experienced social exclusion and mental health problems. The objective of this paper is to analyse NEET youth related statistics in Europe and distinguish positive initiatives for young people in rural areas of the Baltic countries to encourage positive emotions and willingness to learn. Statistical analysis and case study methods were employed. Data on youth unemployment, NEET youth by age and gender, and poverty and social exclusion of young people, is analysed. Social policy initiatives in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, mainly from rural municipalities, are presented and discussed. This research determines the key issues related to NEET youth and proposes initiatives to overcome existing problems among young people. Such social initiatives aim to promote positive social emotions of youth, promote their inclusion in society, and foster regional sustainability.