Today, thanks to the MA Nonprofit Network and Citizens Bank, about 200 nonprofit organizations had the opportunity to share their impact at the State House and on social media. Thankfully we found out about Nonprofit Awareness Day just in time to participate. We've spent most of the day sharing the work we do and the outcomes of our ten member programs with the Twittersphere, nonprofit leaders and government officials on Beacon Hill, and now, in case you missed it, we've posted them to our blog. Read on to find out "Five ways YouthBuild is Transforming Massachusetts and its Youth."
1. Our programs give high school drop-outs another chance at earning their diploma or GED
While involved with the program, nearly 60 percent of our students attain their GED, or in some cases, through a partnership with local schools, their high school diploma.
2. At YouthBuild, young people have the opportunity to rebuild their communities through volunteer service
Since 2009, the students in our programs have rehabbed 309 housing units, built 16, and participated in 224 other construction projects, all for the benefit of low-income families. In total, our staff and students have worked on 510 community projects and completed more than 500,000 AmeriCorps service hours.
3. In our programs, youth gain relevant job skills that make them more employable upon graduation
Every year, 24 percent of students complete internships and altogether earn about 900 industry recognized credentials while in the program. Once they graduate, about 13% go into construction related work, while 47% percent are placed in other jobs.
4. Students receive an educational base that allows them to continue their schooling once they exit the program
Over 90 percent of our students show literacy and numeracy gains (either Grade Level or Functional Level) within a year, and after that year, 25% are placed in post-secondary or vocational institutions. Altogether, 84% of students continue their schooling or are placed in jobs after exiting the program.
5. We promote a positive lifestyle that our students bring with them beyond YouthBuild
In the past three years, 400 students, or 27% of those enrolled, had a history of involvement with the criminal justice system. Since entering YouthBuild and beyond, 382 of those young people have gone without another incident (monitored during enrollment and 90 days past graduation).
But promoting positive lifestyles means more than encouraging good citizenship.
"They would support, encourage, and enlighten the students on how to be productive members of their society. They exposed me to a world beyond my imagination. The knowledge and life-altering experiences that I've gained through the YouthBuild New Bedford program have played an intricate part in how I view myself, my community, and the world, and will continue to throughout my life."
"The thing that stands out the most is the sense of family and camaraderie that I received at YouthBuild. They were able to integrate, educate, and motivate me into being a good role model in my community - in a way that had been unparalleled before."
- YouthBuild New Bedford graduate Nathanael Lopez (click here for full interview)
"Then the day came and from that day on I was forever changed! It was the first place I ever felt anything close to a family. At YouthBuild they taught me how to be me; I always knew who I was but I was terrified to show it. Each staff member helping to create someone who loved to help the community, understood the importance of equality, how to stand up for themselves, how to love math, how to be a leader, and most importantly, they taught me how to love myself. I was given so many opportunities: I got to speak at the state house, run a rally to support YouthBuild, and also run a youth summit bringing in all the local YouthBuild students together, and meeting people I most likely never would have spoken to. The biggest thing YouthBuild New Bedford gave me was a support system. It was something I had never experienced, something that was the greatest gift I never asked for because I never realized how much I needed it."
- YouthBuild New Bedford grad McKaila Coulter (click here for full interview)
Learning, building, serving -- our students are up to amazing things. A big thank you to Citizens Bank and the MA Nonprofit Network for allowing us the opportunity to share them.