One of the important activities of the Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition is the presentation of Learning Academies to enhance the professional development of our YouthBuild staff members across Massachusetts. Recently, the Coalition presented a day of training focused on the integration of program components. A major focus of YouthBuild is to present the program in a unified manner so that the training that our young people experience carries across all aspects of this comprehensive program.
By drawing upon the expertise of program practitioners, we were able to focus on practical ways that staff can interact in the areas of Program Culture, Education, Construction Training, Case Management, Graduate Services and Community Service. Although each of these areas plays a critical role in the overall YouthBuild program, it is only by unifying all of them that the programs can maximize impact of the experience each of our people is offered.
The overview that was offered during the morning session was transitioned into the afternoon with smaller groups coming together to develop ideas and plan for ways to put their learning into practice back at their local programs. We have found over the years, that some of the best ideas and the most innovative practices are learned and nurtured by bringing staff members together in order to share with each other the lessons that have proven successful in the various programs. This peer sharing has been shown to strengthen the effectiveness and delivery of our services.
Our statewide Learning Academies are an innovation that was developed several years ago by the Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition to meet a need of providing professional development for all of our staff members in a concise and productive manner. The feedback from the staff members has confirmed that this is an effective training method.
Old Colony Y YouthBuild Completion Ceremonies Congratulations to the Class of 2014 of YouthBuild Brockton!
YouthBuild Brockton held its annual Completion Ceremony on Friday, September 19, 2014 at the Old Colony YMCA Youth Division on Main Street in Brockton. The ceremony was attended by a host of family members, friends, staff and several former YouthBuild Brockton students.
Director Joseph Barakat began the ceremony by reminding the students that this was a stepping stone to future success, not a destination. He challenged the students to take what they had learned in the program and continue to strive for greatness. Joe introduced Executive Director Mark Showan, who reminded the students of who they were when they arrived the first day of the program, and who they have become after working hard and struggling with the daily rigors of a construction schedule, as well as coping with an equally arduous academic schedule. He applauded them for their effort; and encouraged them to continue to work hard and to pursue their education and career dreams.
The program was honored by the attendance of the Mayor of Brockton Bill Carpenter. After meeting and congratulating each student individually prior to the ceremony, he addressed the students; congratulating them and thanking them for choosing to make a positive impact in their own lives. He commented on how their efforts could and would exponentially influence the lives of their families, friends and the greater Brockton community.
Lashon Amado, a 2010 YouthBuild Brockton graduate; now a staff member at YouthBuild USA, told of how the students reminded him of himself a few years earlier. With great enthusiasm he explained he knew what it felt to be them, but the best was yet to come. He told them , "As you leave here today, you experience achievement and you have marked a milestone in your life." He encouraged them to remember that feeling, to apply the life lessons they have learned at YouthBuild on a daily basis so they never forget what being capable feels like.
Post-Secondary Coordinator Trenetta Newman led the group as they recited the daily pledge for the final time as a group. It was an inspirations and spine tingling way to conclude the ceremony.
Excerpts from the ceremony can be seen on the Mayor of Brockton’s YouTube show, “Shoe City Scoop” at the link below
Old Colony Y YouthBuild Completion Ceremonies Congratulations to the Class of 2014 of YouthBuild Fall River!
On Thursday, October 2nd, The YouthBuild Fall River class of 2014 celebrated ten months of hard work and dedication with a ceremony aboard the USS Massachusetts. Despite inclement weather that forced the celebration down below the deck, the Battleship Cove venue added a dramatic backdrop to the event. Led by Program Manager Carmen Richardi, graduates had the opportunity to congratulate each other on their success, and laugh at some of their stumbles along the way.
They were reminded by community partner Laura Washington that they have been called some of the most intellectual people in our community as part of a survey group she completed for Harvard University. Executive Director Mark Showan reminded the group that the staff had made a commitment to them and their transformation and that although they want to hear about great things going on in the graduate’s lives, they want to see them when they encounter roadblocks to success.
State Representative Carole Fiola spoke about her pride for the YouthBuild Program and its students this year, emphasizing her awe that every student she met in her office almost a year ago was looking back at her from the crowd, wearing a cap and gown, in triumph. She told the audience that as a new legislator a year ago, she knew nothing about YouthBuild, but was sold on the program from the first time she met the students in person. She said that she will always have a special connection with this group as she watched them grow at several events throughout the year.
Youth Policy Committee member Hector Santiago spoke to his classmates about the ups and downs they experiences together, reminding them of all of the service work they did for the community, and all of the people that had a hand in their transformative year.
Instructor Sean Connell and Alumnus Christian Berrios were able to sum of the sentiments of the entire staff when they reminded the graduates that they should be proud of their achievement, but this is by no means the end of their journey. They were encouraged to remember that once they are in YouthBuild, they will always be in YouthBuild; that YouthBuild will celebrate their successes, but also guide them through their fallbacks.
In closing, the graduates were led by classmate Bryan Marrero in reciting the pledge for the final time as a group. It was conducted as loudly and as proudly as ever!