The students of YouthBuild Lowell decided that a way that they could remember September 11th would be to honor first responders by meeting with members of the city’s fire department and learn more about the job that they do. They first met with the Captain and Lieutenant who discussed the role of first responders and what the firefighters who were called to the World Trade Center might have experienced on that fateful day. They gave students a tour of the fire station and took the time to explain the uses of several pieces of apparatus. Because of the relationship that was developed that day, these students are now undertaking a community service project by helping with maintenance at the fire station. One of their first tasks is to clear some overgrown brush that hinders the operation of some of the larger trucks. The events of 9/11 may have been the start of this work, but it will continue because of that day.
September 11th took on a new meaning for YouthBuild students across the State. The Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition was fortunate to be one of five organizations chosen nationally as a recipient of a September 11th Remembrance Grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. The focus of these grants was on families of victims from that day, survivors, or military veterans and their families. We decided to put our construction talents to good use and do something to help solve the problem of homelessness among veterans.
The idea of Tiny Homes seemed to be a natural solution for the problem. Once a design was decided, it was time to get to work. Fall River and Springfield were chosen as the sites that would undertake the construction of our first two Tiny Homes. Each of these units will be 204 square feet and have all of the amenities of a regular home, just smaller. They are built on trailers, so that they will be mobile enough to be able to locate them where there is a need. We also will place them in a location that offers other services that a veteran who is temporarily down on their luck, could utilize to get back on a productive path. This project has received a great reception from everyone who hears about it and this may be a very practical solution to a complex societal problem.
On September 11th, walls were raised in both Springfield and Fall River. In Springfield, the students quickly framed the four walls and proudly raised them completing the basic structure for the Tiny Home. Jaritza Del Toro a member of the Springfield YWCA YouthBuild team, introduced her uncle Hector Arizmendi, a retired New York City Police Officer, who was at Ground Zero on September 11th. He shared his experiences and was very thankful that his niece was involve in this project of Remembrance.
Meanwhile, in Fall River, the crew got busy first thing in the morning. The crew of staff and students made quick work of the outside walls and worked like a well-oiled machine. After an earlier ceremony at Battleship Cove, the entire state legislative delegation arrived along with Mayor Sam Sutter. Senator Michael Rodrigues and Representatives Carole Fiola, Paul Schmid and Alan Silvia were quick with the questions about the project and they all were excited about this idea as a solution to an ongoing problem. Representative Fiola even met up with one of the volunteers who was a former classmate when they were children. It is very heartening to receive such strong support for YouthBuild students and the work that they are doing.
YouthBuild Lawrence students helped make the City's 9/11 ceremony a great success, with the help of Lieutenant Flynn of the Lawrence Fire Department. This project was chosen in remembrance of the work done by first responders during the 9/11 tragedy. The YouthBuild students planned to clean the central station’s fire trucks but due to rainy weather, this project was moved indoors and our students prepared the station for the day's ceremonies. Lieutenant Flynn led the ceremony with a remembrance and an introduction of the new Fire Chief, Brian Moriarty, who also spoke about the 9/11 event. State Representative Marcos Devers, Councilman Roger Twomey and State Senator Barbara L’Italien also participated in the ceremony. Photos below were taken by YouthBuild Lawrence student, Karim Palmer. Students also made posters to remind everyone to "Never Forget 9/11"
Just-A-Start YouthBuild participated in September 11th Remembrance by participating in two events.
In the morning, staff and students started the day at the Cambridge Fire Department Headquarters. Along with the firefighters, we had a moment of silence to honor the victims and the Chief of Police lead the entire group in Mychal's prayer.
Following this ceremony, the group headed over to the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund for their annual 9/11 Service Project to Support Troops and Families. They were in need of baby wipes, so JAS donated two cases from BJs. While there, the group assembled 500 care packages for soldiers overseas and another 500 for veterans in need, served by the New England Center for Homeless Veterans. We hope that our assistance with these efforts helped make life a little better for others in need while honoring the memories of the victims of that fateful day.
In honor of September 11th Remembrance, TRA Quincy YouthBuild students and staff first participated in a moment of silence organized by the Quincy Fire Department to demonstrate their gratitude for first responders.
Following this ceremony, they worked on the new local veterans’ housing project that is being built on East Howard Street. This was a great way for the students to show their respect to the service of veterans, many whom served in the wars resulting from the September 11th attacks. Leading up to the day, time was spent in the classroom teaching and discussing the events of 9/11 with many students who were too young to remember much of that fateful day.
For the sixth consecutive year, YouthBuild students from across the Commonwealth gathered at the State House for a Day of Service. The day started by removing shrubs that had not survived the winter. These were replaced with new ones transforming the appearance of the main entrance to the building. All of the beds were weeded and covered with a covering of mulch to aid growth and water conservation.
The students were also planting some of the annual flowers that help to beautify this landmark. As always, leadership is an important aspect of every part of the YouthBuild program and the students took some time to go inside this majestic building to meet and thank their legislators for their ongoing support of the YouthBuild programs in their districts and statewide. The result of their efforts was very noticeable by the end of the day, as the front lawn was transformed from the impact of the harsh winter into a beautiful spring panorama.Some of the students even made friends with the State House Rangers were very impressed with the effort and result of the work. Below are some additional pictures from this annual event which has become something that the programs look forward to each year.
Courthouse Labor Deal on Target
By Clive McFarlane TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
Worcester YouthBuild participants and the program's director, Michael Quigley, have a basic and successful economic formula by which they swear.
Skills plus opportunities to put those skills to work, they will tell you, most always add up to personal financial growth that can multiply a community's economic development potential.
They should know.
YouthBuild, through a longstanding partnership with St. Gobain, has for years provided low-income high school dropouts with the skills they need to solve the equation of a prosperous life. Through the program, these young people, 16- to 24-year-olds, participate in hands-on, construction skills training by building low-income housing in the community. The hands-on training is complemented with GED preparation, job readiness and leadership training.
"We have young people getting their high school equivalency certificates and building low-income housing in Worcester and the hope is when they leave here we will be able to place them in college or into a job," Mr. Quigley said.
"Last year, 60 percent ended up going to college. This year's group is different. Most will be looking for jobs."
Mr. Quigley is optimistic more than ever now that the city is better positioned for providing the job opportunities these young people will be seeking in the community. Much of that optimism is being underpinned by the Worcester City Council's continued commitment to policies that can potentially produce positive, palpable and immediate economic stimulus in the community.
The council reinforced that commitment this week, when it voted to approve the sale of the old courthouse building to Brady Sullivan Properties LLC for $1.2 million. As part of the deal, the company agreed to set aside 50 percent of the project's budget to hire contractors and subcontractors from the local community.
The nation’s mayors and county executives are increasingly turning to national service as a cost-effective strategy to address local challenges. By unleashing the power of citizens, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs have a positive and lasting impact - making our cities and counties better places to live. To spotlight the impact of national service and thank those who serve, mayors across the country will participate in the third-annual Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service on April 7, 2015. YWCA YouthBuild Springfield stepped up to play a major role in an important project in their community.
The project was a result of a request from Dream Studios, Inc. DREAM Studios Inc (Dramatically Reaching Everyone's Artistic Mentality) is a non-profit agency that was created to introduce community youth to the performing arts and to strengthen them academically. DREAM Studios offers after school programs and summer camps that focus on Drama, Vocal Training, Dance, Academic & Career Counseling and support groups for women, teens and youth.
Dream Studios hosts an annual Fashion Show that serves as a fundraiser for the organization. The director, Benjamin Smith, reached out to the YWCA YouthBuild Springfield program and asked for help in constructing a stage and runway for the fashion show. The YouthBuild members designed the runway, created a materials list, and constructed the entire project in sections so that it may be easily taken apart and used year after year.
Hi, my name is Marcus Diaz. I am a student at the Worcester YouthBuild Program. I joined YouthBuild last year because I was unable to pass my MCAS test while attending the Worcester Public Schools. YouthBuild gave me an opportunity to continue my education and to learn construction. When I was in the Public Schools I had some great teachers who really cared about me, BUT I had many others who did not. Many teachers gave up on me because I couldn’t read and write up to their standards. They knew that I would never be able to pass the MCAS test. In many ways, they just stopped teaching me.
YouthBuild, is much different. My first day at YouthBuild, I was welcomed with open arms. They had me take a TABE test, and told me just to try my best and not to worry. My test scores were very low. I tested in at 3rd grade in both Math and Reading. I was worried that YouthBuild would quit on me, just like everyone else had. But they didn’t quit on me, they continued to challenge me.
My instructor at YouthBuild, Francis, had me attend Math class twice a day, had me reading books, and writing essays. I put in the work, and when YouthBuild re-tested me I tested at an 8th grade level in both math and reading!
YouthBuild believed in me, and now I believe in myself. It’s true that I have an IEP and difficulty learning. But I am not defined by that, I am defined by how hard I work, and how I treat others!
I am taking my HiSET exam in April- I might not pass. But that’s OK, because I know that YouthBuild has my back, that YOU ALL have my back and that one day I will pass my HiSET. I will go into the Union and I will accomplish all of my goals. We need more money for YouthBuild, so they can continue to help people like you and me!