Students from YouthBuild Lowell recently participated in the “MEN FOR CHANGE” 7th Annual Massachusetts White Ribbon Day Event. This event was held on Thursday March 6, 2014 at Lowell City Hall. The students helped build the lovely display that was showcased in the Lowell City Hall Lobby stating kind words from people in our community against Domestic Violence. Our own student, Isiah Lyons, was selected to make a statement on how Domestic Violence has impacted his life. Isiah was quoted saying, “Domestic Violence has touched my life and I stand here with all of you today against it.”
Working for Worcester is a student inspired and organized 501(c)3 social initiative that brings together college students, local businesses, non-profits, neighborhood groups, community and faith-based organizations, government agencies, and major corporations to promote stronger community wellness through creating recreation infrastructure and facilities at Worcester’s schools, parks, community centers, sports fields, and other valuable family and youth-oriented spaces. April 12, 2014 marked the 2nd year that hundreds of local volunteers came together to work on 20 community projects throughout Worcester. The projects ranged from turning a storage cellar into a multipurpose fitness and dance studio from scratch, building playgrounds and renovating classrooms in the Worcester Public Schools. Worcester YouthBuild is proud to have helped make 2014 Working for Worcester a very successful event!
Pictured above are Mike Quigley, TRA-Worcester YouthBuild Director, with Judy Fask (right), Worcester Public Schools Transition Rehab Specialist.
The day began with a large rally at Holy Cross College outside the Hogan Center. Students picked up their T-shirts, had breakfast that was provided by Panera Bread and took pictures with the Red Sox World Series Trophies. After enjoying the morning festivities, the students made their way to the Fanning Building to start their work.
In the photo at right are (from left to right) Nathan Stowell, WYB Case Manager, Robert Kuszewski, Transition Program/WYB student, and Francis DeAngelo, WYB Instructor.
When WYB arrived at the Fanning Building, we were divided into groups of painters, cutters, and a third group was in charge of making the new shelving unit for the teacher’s room. This was a day-long process.
Worcester YB student Deshawn Ivory (in photo at left) expressed the sentiments of his fellow classmates, when he said, “It was a pleasure to improve my community. I really love YouthBuild, and I am always looking to give back because of the opportunities the program provides for me. Also, I know that we have students from the Transition Program in YouthBuild with me and they are two great guys, and good friends of mine. Today was a great day, I hope to come back as a YB alumni next year and help out again.”
WYB students Deshawn Ivory (left) and Marcus Diaz are pictured at right cutting the metal shelving units.
A special shout-out and thanks to our good friends from YouthBuild USA, Kate White and Christina McPike, who came from Boston and stayed all day long helping to paint, build shelving units, and establish great relationships with the students and staff at Worcester YouthBuild!
YouthBuild Lawrence won first place at the 2nd Annual Furniture Trust Eco-Carpentry Challenge 2014 for most creative! J In addition to receiving a trophy the team took home a prize of $1,000!
Great job to the team and staff for their hard work!!! YOUTHBUILD!
My name is Kayla Perez and I am attending YouthBuild Lawrence. I want to share my story.
Growing up was difficult and I wish I were a kid again as growing up I wanted to be all types of things.
As I started to get older, I began to hang out with the wrong crowd. I started smoking weed and drinking in school and thought it was cool. I unsuccessfully went from one school to another and did not get anything done as I thought school was a joke and didn’t take life seriously. I began to give up on life and did not take advantage of opportunities I had.
I could have been somebody and chose to be a nobody. I was so young and didn’t make the best choices. As I got older, the mistakes I made, I began to learn from them. One day I just woke up and said to myself I need to do right. I need to get off my butt and be somebody positive.
All I want to do one day is look in the mirror and say “I finally made it!” Through the years I started losing friends as I needed to make better choices about the people I had in my life that would support me. I wanted to make my mother proud. I wanted to help her have a good life. This was my goal in life, to have a better life.
I decided to apply to YouthBuild Lawrence because I heard many YouthBuild graduates speak of how positive the program is and how successful they were because of attending YouthBuild. They told me to go to YouthBuild and that I would like it. I finally applied this year and made it through Mental Toughness and was selected as one of 34 students. I am going to take advantage of this opportunity. I want to pass my HiSet test. I want to get my driver’s license. I want to learn job skills and have a career. I want to be a leader and a role model. I want to be independent and go to college. I am going to get this done and nothing is going to stop me!
This year’s Worcester YouthBuild started in January with 28 students competing for 17 slots in YouthBuild classroom. They all entered what is known as Mental Toughness (MT), three weeks of growing together as a family, and proving that we can handle the challenges that will come our way over the next ten months. During this time, if students are even one minute late for class they are removed from the running as a YouthBuild student. Students participated in classroom team building activities, field trips in the Worcester area, TABE testing, OSHA 10 training and basic academics. After three weeks, 17 students earned their way into the YouthBuild program. They received a certificate of achievement for completing Mental Toughness, a Tool Box, basic hand tools and work boots.
After completing MT, YouthBuild students were split into two groups that are alternating between the work-site and the classroom every other week. Worcester YouthBuild is partnering with Matthew 25, a non-profit organization, helping to renovate a 2-family home located at 3 Benefit Terrace in Worcester that will be rented to two low-income families upon completion. In the classroom, students have started to prepare for the High School Equivalency certification (HiSET) exams and also started working on their individual Quarter One classroom project. All students are required to complete a classroom project each quarter in order to graduate from Worcester YouthBuild. So far, each student has completed a project on Martin Luther King and presented a research project on a topic of their choice in the form of a PowerPoint.
YouthBuild students are making great progress on the work-site. Under the guidance of their construction supervisor Gerald Siplas, students have begun installing CertainTeed siding and have fire blocked the entire house. They have replaced all the windows and helped build dormers on the third floor. Our goal to finish one of the units by the end of this summer and continue to make a positive impact in the Worcester community!
My name is Shaquia Bizzle and I am 22 years old. I am a current student at YouthBuild Boston in the 12-week Accelerated Training Program. I first came to YouthBuild Boston in the fall of 2013, but I dropped the program because of issues that I had within myself. I reapplied this past January because I felt like I was missing out on a good opportunity that could benefit me in the future. I thought it could help me stay off the streets and allow me to use my time doing something productive rather than doing nothing all day with my friends. In the past, I didn’t always make the best decisions in my life, but now I am at a place in my life where I want to better myself. Participating in this program helped me to occupy my time by taking part in something I enjoy, such as working with my hands.
YouthBuild Boston is a great way to help young people like myself start a career, rather than just getting a job. The staff and instructors make you think about the bigger picture on how good you could be living when you’re 50 or 60 years old; comfortably and not having to worry about how you’re going to support your family or struggling with bills. The staff at YBB is incredible. They understand your personal situations and will try their best to help you get everything you need from applying to jobs, completing applications, or assisting with getting your license. My instructor, Tim Tudor, is the best because he tells you the flat out truth. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything and will tell you how it is and how it’s going to be even if you don’t like it or don’t want to hear it. Everything that he has learned while being a carpenter, he teaches to us even if it’s the old school way.
Through the program this far, we've learned things like putting up staging, how to frame, the fundamentals of math, and how to read blueprints. We also are certified in LEED, RRP, OSHA 30 and First Aid/CPR. What I expected to get out of this program was to gain the most knowledge, experience, and hands-on training to help me get into a trade that I really want to pursue as a career. There were many trades that we visited throughout Massachusetts, but the two trades that caught my attention were the Carpenters' Union and the Laborers’ Union. On these sites we were able to network with different people from different unions including general contractors. I’m going to get so much more out of this program than I initially thought; the opportunity to become a leader within my own self and among my peers, the ability to look ahead, and the determination to make a better future for myself. I hope many young people after me will also get the opportunity to gain the same knowledge, skills and support that I have been fortunate enough to receive through my participation in YouthBuild Boston.