YouthBuild USA was formed in 1990, based off the Youth Action Program developed by Dorothy Stoneman in East Harlem during the late 1970’s. The organization’s mission is to “unleash the intelligence and positive energy of low-income youth to rebuild their communities and their lives.” To do that, YouthBuild helps young adults get their GED while developing their construction skills and giving back to their community. In a little over twenty years, 273 YouthBuilds have been established in 46 states. Mile High Youth Corps’ YouthBuild program is the only one in the state of Colorado. Since September, Corpsmembers have split their time between working one-on-one with subcontractors to learn a variety of construction skills (building, electrical work, plumbing, and more) and studying in the classroom as they make steps toward earning their GEDs.
To earn a GED, a person must take five tests in Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. As of today, six Corpsmembers from the Mile High Youth Corps YouthBuild program have earned their GEDs, and every one of them is making great strides toward that achievement! I recently spoke to three of our Corpsmembers about their progress toward getting their GED. Vincent Martinoli, Dae’Mon Davis, and Angel Medina are all on their way to accomplishing their goal—Vincent passed his fourth test earlier this week, and both Dae’Mon and Angel only have two tests left to complete.
What made you join YouthBuild?
Vincent: I wanted to get my GED and make money at the same time.
Angel: I joined to get an education and for my daughter.
What has been the biggest challenge?
Dae’Mon: Being on the construction site and learning different trades.
Vincent: Getting focused in the classroom because it’s been awhile since I had to do that.
What has been the most rewarding part of this experience?
Angel: The sense of accomplishment. I never had someone say “you did a good job” to me before. Now I’ve been Corpsmember of the Month, and it means a lot to me.
Vincent: Getting recognized for my work ethic. I always knew I was a hard worker, but hearing that from my supervisors has been really rewarding.
Dae’Mon: Taking steps toward the future and getting close to post-secondary education.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
Dae’Mon: Work and go to college for business.
Angel: Go to college or become a plumber.
Vincent: Go to trade school.
All three of these Corpsmembers have helped to build affordable housing with the Denver Housing Authority while studying for their GED tests. They have done a lot since their arrival in September, and we here at MHYC are proud of all they have accomplished and excited to see what they will do in the future!