2013 YouthBuild Basketball Tournament Champs, YB Fall River
We told you in a previous post to expect some exciting play from our students, but not even we were ready for what we saw yesterday at our annual YouthBuild Basketball Tournament in Fall River. Every program in Massachusetts brought a team, and every team brought their "A" game. Students were diving for basketballs, hitting shots with the game on the line -- nobody left anything on the court, and it showed on the scoreboard. Most of the games were decided by six points or less! That includes a few that went into overtime and even one that went into triple overtime. Have you ever been to a game that went into triple overtime? We didn't think so...
Taking home the title of 2013 YouthBuild Basketball Tournament Champion was YouthBuild Fall River, who edged out YouthBuild Boston in overtime in the last game of the day. Boston fought valiantly, though, winning six games back to back just to reach the championship from the consolation bracket, then beating Fall River in the first game of the finals to force a second, and holding them off until the final seconds of overtime. All teams were equally talented and every match-up was a close one; there's no doubt in my mind that if you played yesterday's tournament over again, we'd end up with completely different results.
However, as entertaining as they all were, the highlight of yesterday's games wasn't a buzzer beater, or a three-pointer, or a no-look pass -- it was the way in which every player on the court carried themselves -- with great sportsmanship and pride, regardless of whether they won or lost. Each student-athlete that participated yesterday embodied the spirit of YouthBuild, and it's for this reason that we continue to hold the tournament and cannot wait for 2014. So work on your game for next year, YouthBuilders, and we'll see you at the 7th Annual YouthBuild Basketball Tournament.
YouthBuild Fall River poses with Ameena Matthews
Unfortunately for many of our students the threat of gang-related violence in everyday life is very real. YouthBuild sites are purposely situated in cities and towns in need of revitalization, and often times that need is accompanied by an increased prevalence of gang-related violence and crime. This being the case, students and staff from YouthBuild Fall River chose to attend the Peace By Piece Summit on Friday, where youth ages 16-24 from surrounding areas gathered to discuss the implications and methods of coping with gang violence in their communities. A number of community activists spoke out last week at the Boys and Girls Club of Fall River, including members of the Peaceful Coalition, and Ameena Matthews, a "violence interrupter" from CeaseFire in Chicago. Read more about the event in the Herald News.
Every year AmeriCorps spends one week recognizing the contributions of its service members to organizations everywhere. Now that this year's AmeriCorps week has come and gone, let's take a brief look back at some of the service projects our Mass. programs have been involved in since it started:
Eggs filled by YouthBuild Quincy
TRA YouthBuild Quincy spent some time this week on the USS Salem helping prepare for the year's city-wide Easter egg hunt. The event brings youth from the Quincy community and surrounding areas to the "only preserved U.S. heavy naval cruiser" on the Saturday before Easter to search for plastic eggs filled with candy by our YouthBuild members. The students of Quincy filled 700 of the 3,000 eggs needed to run the event, and will return next week to finish the rest, and again on the Saturday of the event to watch the children of the city take part in the hunt they helped put together.
While Quincy students were busy on the USS Salem, Lawrence YouthBuilders made improvements to the recreation room of the Lawrence Senior Community Center. The facility, which provides seniors with a variety of services ranging from nutritional counseling to volunteer opportunities, describes itself as a place "where older adults come together for services and activities that reflect their experience and skills....support their independence, and encourage their involvement with the center and the community." Lawrence students renovated the center's rec. room stage and constructed a handicap ramp that would make the it more readily accessible to the population it's meant to accommodate. This multi-purpose room sees a lot of action throughout the year, hosting bingo nights, guest speakers, and themed parties; so our YouthBuilders took time to make sure the stage would be able to stand up to the wear and tear it will likely see as more events are scheduled.
YouthBuild Boston takes "Duct Wrapping 101"
Students from YouthBuild Boston attended a "Duct Wrapping 101" session during AmeriCorps week to prepare for a service project beginning tomorrow at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans (NECHV). This project, a continuation of YB Boston's annual Housewarming Event that took place on Veterans Day, looks to lower the NECHV's annual energy costs by providing them with some low cost, high impact solutions. The initial stage of the project involved the caulking and weatherstripping of 200 windows in the center, and the next stage, to be implemented beginning tomorrow, includes repairing what YB Boston and their volunteer partners from Bank Of America and the New England Regional Council of Carpenters determined was the cause of the center's significant energy loss: their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
The project will include:
All three projects are just a glimpse of what our students have been up to the past week. To stay up to date on all the latest Mass YouthBuild news, don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter by entering your email address in the box on our sidebar to the right! Happy AmeriCorps Week!
Every March 14th the world celebrates the Greek symbol pi, representative of the ratio of a circle's circumference to it's diameter - in number form, approximately 3.14159. In honor of Pi Day, we thought we'd throw out some other important numbers to all you math-minded Mass. YouthBuild supporters.
1,478/4,451 - Number of youth served compared to the number of youth who applied. Due to funding limitations, the MYBC can only serve a third of the applicants who apply to its programs.
83.6 - Percentage of graduates placed in full time employment or institutions of higher education.
57/36 - The percentage of Massachusetts YouthBuild students who passed the GED compared to all other GED programs nationally.
325 - Number of housing units renovated or built by MA. YouthBuild programs.
93 - The percentage of students who show literacy and numeracy gains of two years upon completion of the program.
31/4.5 - The percentage of students who enter the program having been involved with the criminal justice system, compared to the recidivism rate for those students.
547,999 - Community service hours completed by students in MYBC AmeriCorps programs.
2,827 - The number of industry recognized credentials attained by MYBC students.
770,000 - Dollar amount cut from the 2009 Massachusetts YouthBuild line item.
Numbers don't lie. If you believe in our outcomes, our students, and our mission as strongly as we do, show your support however you can. If you can't donate, subscribe to our email newsletter. If you don't have an email address, show your support at our next statewide event. It doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you do it with purpose and enthusiasm. Happy Pi Day and AmeriCorps Week from the MYBC.
2012 YouthBuild Bball Tournament Champs
The NCAA tournament isn't the only basketball you should have your eye on this month. Two weeks from now, on March 27th, the 6th Annual YouthBuild Basketball Tournament will take place at YB Fall River. Last year's program was a success, drawing supporters from a variety of backgrounds, and this year we invite you all to return for a slightly different style of tournament. The 2013 double elimination tourney will feature players from every program, and unlike last year, each site will field their own team (with the exception of Quincy and Worcester who will combine to form one). Students and their staff coaches have been preparing for this tournament for weeks prior, so expect some entertaining play and exciting match-ups. Games will be played on 18 minutes running time with a one minute halftime, and the tournament is expected to run from 9am to 2:30pm. Concessions will be available for purchase at the event, so don't worry about packing a lunch -- the only thing you'll need to bring is your YouthBuild spirit (and maybe a foam finger or homemade sign). We hope to see you on the 27th for another exciting MYBC statewide event that showcases the teamwork, sportsmanship and cooperation that we at YouthBuild pride ourselves on.
Traveling around to every MYBC location during my first week on the job in December I quickly realized what a creative group of individuals the YouthBuild program attracted. All you really have to do is spend some time in the lobby of YouthBuild Just-A-Start in Cambridge or the workshop of CTI YouthBuild Lowell, where students have decorated the walls with beautifully detailed YB murals, to understand just how artistic our youth are. Knowing of their students' exceptional creativity and wanting to give them a platform on which to express it, YouthBuild USA put together YouthBuild's Got Talent - a competition that asked YB students and alumni from all over the nation to produce a video displaying the impact of the program on their lives.
As expected, many students answered the call - however only a few programs, including one of our very own (YWCA YouthBuild Springfield), made it past the initial selection round to the finals. YWCA YB Springfield is joined by YB East Harlem, YB Long Island, and YB Phoenix in the YouthBuild's Got Talent final four. In order to vote for the People's Choice winner of this year's competition, you'll need to visit YouthBuild USA on Facebook, like their page, and click on the #YBGT thumbnail. The program whose video generates the most votes by March 30th will be declared the winner and recipient of the $500 grand prize. So get moving and vote for your favorite video before it's too late!