The graduates, ages 17 to 25, include: Nedjma Bensahih (22), Joshua Bourassa, (22), Santos Casia (22), Kashon Clemetson (24), Jonathan Cortes (22), Rutherford Dorelus (20), Christian D. Fernandez (18), Imalay Holguin-Guzman (25), Jeremy Javier (23), Kabilraj Kantharaj (23), Harmony Lamarche (18), Gladys Leonardo- Charuco (23), Yarnell May (20), Kaneisha M. Minton (20), Saniyya Moreno (18), Absalon Sambolin (24), Ciara Santiago (22), Hennesis Santiago (20), Joshua Ventura (19), Christian Javier Vergara-Rosado (20), and Gerome Wright (19), all of Worcester; Gabrielle Carter (24) of Gardner; Keith Lowell (25) of Charlton; and Destanie Smith (17) and Domanic Vierkant (18), both from Rutland.
Students receive instruction in High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) preparation, self-esteem, life, work readiness, and leadership skills, including community service opportunities. Additionally, participants choose between two skills training tracks: Construction - where they learn carpentry/ building skills utilizing an actual housing rehab or new construction project which helps create quality low-income housing in Worcester and Nursing Assistant – where they learn nurse aide and home health aide skills via a partnership with the American Red Cross. Extensive support services include counseling/ case management, job development/ placement assistance, as well as transition to higher education and follow-up services.
Most of all, the program offers opportunities for personal growth and development. According to graduate Joshua Ventura “I achieved my High School Equivalency credential and my PACT certification thanks to YouthBuild. The program has helped steer me in the right direction both academically and socially, and I couldn’t be more grateful.” Adds, graduate Destanie Smith, “In just a few months, I have completed my High School Equivalency tests, graduated from the American Red Cross, and found an amazing job in the nursing field. I went from being this girl who kept to herself to being an outgoing person…I have also gained many new friends and an amazing support group that I will forever be grateful for.”
Program Manager Doug Daigle, TRA President Kim Harmon, and Representative James O’Day joined family and friends in celebrating the young peoples’ many accomplishments.