History: YouthBuild USA

YouthBuild is a non-profit organization which provides education, counseling and job skills to unemployed young American adults (between ages 18 and 24), generally high school dropouts. There are 273 YouthBuild programs in the United States, with a total capacity of about 10,000 students yearly, and there are similar programs underway in over 15 countries. The headquarters are in Somerville, Massachusetts.

The YouthBuild program has five components: construction, education, counseling, leadership, and graduate opportunity. Students spend every other week on a job site, learning a trade. This gives the students marketable job skills. The alternate weeks are spent on education in the YouthBuild classroom, with the goal of attaining a GED or completing their high school diploma. Many YouthBuild students come directly from the streets or from difficult life situations, so counseling is available to help them deal with anger management, family responsibilities, and other adjustment/life direction issues. Leadership is taught explicitly in YouthBuild programs, based on the philosophy that young people are not a burden, but rather a resource to be tapped. This, combined with ensuring opportunity and placement for graduates, means that many YouthBuild graduates go on to college, work in the non-profit sector, serve on committees, or even run in local politics.

Funding for YouthBuild previously came primarily from the Department of Housing and Urban Development but has transitioned to the Department of Labor. Other funding sources for programs are widely varied but include other government agencies, private foundations, corporations, and individual donors.

Founded and directed by Dorothy Stoneman and John Bell, one of the main purposes of YouthBuild is to build affordable housing for low-income families. Since 1994, more than 19,000 homes have been built by 92,000 YouthBuild students.

Learn more: https://www.youthbuild.org/