After graduating from YouthBuild Fall River in October of 2013, Michelle Tirado was accepted into the CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) program at Bristol Community College.
As the classes went on, it became clear to her that her future was in the medical field, but that she wouldn't be satisfied with a career as a nursing assistant -- so she set a goal.
That goal will amaze and inspire you, and remind you of the power of YouthBuild to help under-served young people realize their potential...
Okay Michelle, what's your full name and when did you graduate?
My name is Michelle Tirado and I graduated on October 25th 2013.
And where did you grow up?
I grew up in Rhode Island.
Okay, so how did you end up in Fall river?
I actually moved out here a year ago with my mom.
What were you doing before you joined YouthBuild Fall River?
I was actually attending another YouthBuild in Rhode Island.
Oh wow, so you started at a YouthBuild in Rhode Island and you ended up at YouthBuild Fall River... Tell me…how did you even end up in YouthBuild in the first place?
Well I found out about YouthBuild Providence because my brother went there. Then when I moved to Fall River, my previous program recommended I go to YouthBuild Fall River. So I gave it a shot and I signed up, did my mental toughness and got picked to be in the program. But had a little bump in the road where I stopped going to the program for a couple of months…
Well I got a job and started thinking that money was more important than education. Then the school kept contacting me, trying to get me to come back. They would call me every day, and eventually they convinced me to come back to school. Then finally I got my GED. Amen (laughs). And now I’m taking CNA classes at BCC.
That’s great to hear and it makes me curious. There are so many GED programs out there, what made you choose YouthBuild?
Well, at YouthBuild they understand where you come from. They know the struggles that you’ve been through. They know how to treat you, compared to regular high schools that will just kick you out of class. YouthBuild understands where their kids come from.
For me, I’m 23 years old, so going back to school at YouthBuild was the last straw for me. I’ve done Job Corps, I’ve done GED programs in Rhode Island that did not work out for me. So I tried YouthBuild because my brother referred me to YouthBuild Providence. I tried it, but I didn’t succeed in that one. Then when I moved out here they referred me to YouthBuild Fall River, and there I did succeed. And I was amazed at what I could do. It’s a great opportunity for kids like me who grew up in the projects -- who experienced the struggle.
You said you surprised yourself. How?
Well I got my GED, and that was really surprising. I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t always have the support that the staff at YouthBuild Fall River gave me. They had more faith in me than I had in myself. If it weren't for them, I wouldn’t have been able to do it on my own. And getting it was a great feeling.
Tell me about the construction component of the program. How did it impact you?
It’s actually a great trade. I do a lot of the renovations at my own house now. I was able to get a job at Home Depot mostly because I had been through a construction training program and I’m familiar with everything.
The opportunity to go to school and learn a trade is great. Whether it’s construction or another trade, I’m sure everybody can learn it and take it further.
So are you considering a career in construction?
Right now, no.
What is it you’re hoping to do now that you’ve graduated? You said you were taking classes at BCC…
Yes, I’m taking CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) classes at BCC and I finish December 10th.
And once those are done, and you’re a CNA, what’s the plan then?
Well, then I want to work as a CNA and go back to BCC take EMT classes. I want to be in the medical field, but I’ll still have that construction knowledge from the program and from working at Home Depot.
So what kind of training do you have to go through to to become an EMT?
I’m still looking into it, but that’s only one of the things I want to do. I don’t want to stop there. I’m going to keep taking courses in the medical field.
Oh, so that’s not your ultimate goal, to be an EMT? Do you have a position you’re shooting for? Where do you want to end up?
I actually want to be a doctor. It’s going to be hard but I’m going to work my way up there.
Wow. Any particular kind of doctor?
First I was looking into becoming a midwife, but now I’m looking into surgical.
Is there any particular reason why? Was it just one of those careers that always interested you?
I would like to be the person referred to as “the doctor who can save a person’s life”. That’s what I want to be known as.
Sounds like YouthBuild has helped you establish your goals and get started on the path to achieving them. It's helped a lot of other young people do the same, but it may not always be that way due to lack of funding in recent years.
If you had the opportunity to speak to all the people responsible for funding the 11 YB programs in Massachusetts -- state representatives, senators, the governor -- what would you say to convince them that YouthBuild deserves more funding?
I would tell them I dropped out at 17, and I’m 23 years old now. There’s a big gap in between there. I moved to Fall River and I started going to YouthBuild, but left after a few months because I cared more about the money than education. But the school pulled me back which was good because we always need somebody to be there for us….to help us to follow the right road. If it wasn’t for YouthBuild, I wouldn't be here right now. I would never have gotten my GED, I would never have taken CNA classes, I would never go up the ladder. I would be going down the ladder. I would explain to them how YouthBuild understands students that have struggled, and normal high schools or GED programs don’t care about us the way YouthBuild does. It’s a great opportunity, we get to help other people through community service. It’s not just school.
I’m glad you brought up the community service part of the program. What did it feel like when you were out there doing community service for a group that was in-need, or building a home for a low-income family?
It feels great to give a family an opportunity to live in a house or an apartment -- not just housing. It’s great that they can live in an apartment/house complex. That was something I never had growing up. It feels great. It feels GREAT. You don’t even understand.
Tell me what the difference is between Michelle before YouthBuild and Michelle after YouthBuild.
Well…Michelle before youthbuild…
She was very immature. Through YouthBuild I became much more mature. I’m focused on school, work, and my goals.
If somebody wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
I would say, “Recognizing The Unreal.” Just because I’ve actually recognized the unreal. Through YouthBuild I was able to realize what I’m capable of.
If you could point to one thing -- one lesson you’ve learned at YouthBuild that was the most important to you -- what would it be?
I learned that helping people and giving back to the community is very satisfying. When we had snow during the winter, we would go to YouthBuild, get on the bus and go around to people’s houses and shovel them out of the snow. They would come out and say “Thank you so much, I wish I had money to give you.” And we would tell them, "We don’t do this for money, we do this to help you."
If you could give one piece of advice to young people just starting out in YouthBuild, what would it be?
Don’t give up no matter what situation you’re in because YouthBuild will take you a long way in life.
Are there any people out there you’d like to give a shout-out to? People who have helped you get to where you are today…
Well I want to give a shout-out to YouthBuild Providence because of the fact that they’re still in my life, and YouthBuild Fall River. So those two. I have too many individuals to thank for helping me get to where I am, so I'm just going to leave it at that.
If you're a Mass. YouthBuild graduate interested in sharing your story, contact Terry Moran at firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2011, The North Shore CDC Piloted A Summer Youth Jobs Program. They Never Expected It Would Grow Into This...
What happens when you give local under-served young people the opportunity to rebuild their community through service?
In 2011, the North Shore Community Development Coalition (NSCDC) found out when they piloted a program that brought together at-risk Salem youth to work on neighborhood improvement projects. They got such an overwhelming response, and by its conclusion, so much positive feedback, that the CDC sought to extend their summer program to a year-round one, and began exploring ways to do it.
The search for a similar and equally effective model soon lead them to YouthBuild -- the comprehensive youth development framework that our then ten programs were built on. After determining such a model would sufficiently meet the needs of the under-served youth of Salem, North Shore CDC prepared to launch their YouthBuild program in the upcoming year.
When they were approved by YouthBuild USA as a provisional affiliate in early 2013, they founded the first YouthBuild site on the North Shore, and were subsequently voted into the Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition by its ten member programs in May.
Since then, YouthBuild North Shore has worked tirelessly with the MYBC to improve their program and exceed the operational standards set by the coalition (most recently measured at their peer evaluation in early November), and they continue to surprise us every day.
In the following article written for the Massachusetts CDC website, NSCDC Executive Director Mickey Northcutt looks back on the successful first year of the newest YouthBuild site in Massachusetts. >> Read the full article on macdc.org
Earn A Stipend, A $5,550 Education Award, Make A Difference As A Full-Time Coordinator At PACE YouthBuild New Bedford
This is a Full-time 40 hour per week (minimum) service position as an AmeriCorps member of PACE YouthBuild New Bedford. Community Partnership and Volunteer Coordination AmeriCorps Members are responsible for developing and strengthening community partnerships for their YouthBuild program including identifying partnerships for potential service projects and service learning initiatives. This member will also provide service by implementing the program’s volunteer program, enabling the program to better serve low-income young people and community residents. This includes developing appropriate materials, recruiting and managing volunteers, and training the site’s staff as appropriate so that the site can sustain the program after the member’s term of service is completed.
Must be at least 21 years of age, have college credit/ graduate, and be a US Citizen, US National, or lawful permanent resident of the US.
SKILLS AND ABILITIES REQUIRED
Member will receive a living allowance ($12,100 minimum to $24,200 maximum annually) or ($233 – $465 weekly) paid out over the term of service, health insurance if not already covered. Members may also qualify for a childcare allowance. Upon successful completion of service, members receive an education award of $5550 (which is taxable). Other benefits include student loan deferment, professional training, valuable networking opportunities, working with a dedicated team of AmeriCorps members and staff, and the opportunity to make a real difference.
We consider applicants without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status. Reasonable accommodations are available on request.
Interested applicants can apply by emailing cover letter and resume to Lisa Mello-Frost at Lisa.YouthBuildNB@Gmail.com
"Because of our work, someone like me will finally be able to afford a home." -Lowell YouthBuilder
Join YouthBuild Lowell on Thursday, November 14th at 12pm as they showcase their newly renovated project at 32 Dana Court in Dracut, MA.
The home, once a target for vandalism and crime, will now be used as a living space for a low-income family that could previously not afford a place to stay.
Throughout the rehabilitation, our students had the opportunity to gain real-world skills by learning from licensed professionals, all while working toward the goal of providing a home to someone less fortunate. Low-income youth giving back to their communities to help families in situations similar to their own is what the YouthBuild model is based on.
>> Find out more about our model
If you'd like to attend, RSVP to Thula Sibanda at 978-446-9803 or at NSIBANDA@COMTEAM.ORG
When this many prominent leaders come together on one night, you know it must be for something important.
And it was...
Since 1994, over 110,000 young people have changed their lives, and their communities, through YouthBuild. They've attained countless credentials, built more than 21,000 units of affordable, increasingly green housing, and have helped grow what was one youth development program in the city of Harlem, NY to an international movement.
Today you'll find well over 250 YouthBuild programs around the world -- each one staying true to the mission of helping under-served young people rebuild their communities and their lives.
Here in Massachusetts, that goal is being accomplished every day by the dedicated caseworkers, educators, directors, partners, and students of our eleven YouthBuild programs.
Of the 1500 students we've served between 2009 and 2012:
Given these numbers, it's pretty clear our young people can do amazing things if presented the opportunity. This is where you, our supporters, come in...
Between 2009 and 2012 nearly 4,500 out-of-school, at-risk, impoverished youth applied to YouthBuild programs across Massachusetts. 4,500 16-24 year-olds with a desire to change their futures knocked on our doors, and we had to turn away 3,000 of them. With the funding we receive from the federal/state government, partner organizations, and private grantors, we're only able to serve about one-third of the young people who come to us for help.
At the Building Better Together event, Boston City Councilors Ayanna Pressley and Tito Jackson came together to support our eleven MYBC programs and the national YouthBuild movement, along with representatives from a number of organizations including: Boston Capital, Boston Private Bank & Trust, CohnReznik, Cross Harbor, Capital Partners, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Goulston & Storrs, Holland & Knight, New England Development, Nixon Peabody, Novogradac & Company, WinnCompanies, Alexander Finning CPAs, Bank Of America Merrill Lynch, Nelson Mullins, Partners Benefit Group, People's United Bank, and the Roseview Group.
With their help, and yours, we can not only continue to offer our services to the young people of Massachusetts -- but we can improve, and extend them to the two-thirds, or 3000 youth we were unable to serve due to lack of resources.
Whether it's by volunteering, donating, mentoring, or advocating, you can help ensure that every at-risk young person who signs up for YouthBuild has the opportunity to redirect their life through service and education. If you believe in our outcomes and our mission, take action. If you don't, have a look at this short speech given by YouthBuild Lowell graduate Devon Acevedo at Building Better Together. If he can't convince you that YouthBuild creates opportunity, we're not sure who can.
Hi, I’m Devon Acevedo. I was born at Lowell General Hospital. I grew up in a family that suffered from poverty and domestic violence. When my house burned down in 2005 we were left homeless with nowhere to go.
Constantly we would move from one family member's house to the next, just trying to have a roof over our head. That meant moving to new states. It seemed as though there was never any stability in my life.
At the young age of 14 I was put on probation for fighting in school. Then I was caught stealing to try and make money, but all it did was land me in a juvenile facility for two months. I got out and did the same thing over again and got the same result. Only this time I was doing more time -- a year and a half to be exact. While I was there I had a lot of time to assess my life and realize who I wanted to be. I went to a Transitional Living Program for at risk youth and got the chance to change my life -- and I did.
I got out of jail in December of last year and since then I haven’t looked back. I enrolled in Lowell High School and graduated this year with a 3.8 GPA. But I didn’t stop there. I got a job over the summer at Marshalls. Once the summer was over I joined the SMART Initiative (Start Making a Real Transformation) at YouthBuild, I got accepted to Middlesex Community College, and I plan to transfer to the University of Massachusetts in Lowell to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering. I’m the first in my family to graduate High School and the first to be in College.
YouthBuild has helped me to get my OSHA 10 Certificate and allows me to further my knowledge in carpentry. I am working on my NCCER Construction Certification and I have played a big role in building the Program Project House and the rehabilitation of the second floor of our YouthBuild Lowell building. Through the SMART initiative I am able to be a flexible student meaning that I am able to attend college while participating in the Program. YouthBuild has given me something to do to keep off the streets. Their support has pushed me to exceed what I thought I could do and I now have a head start to a new life.
I thank all of the people who have supported me through my tribulations. And thank you for giving me the chance to speak here today.