YouthBuild Newark featured in TIME magazine video

YouthBuild Newark students and graduates at work in a TIME magazine video.

While we didn’t exactly make the cover of TIME magazine, we did make the home page of
In a piece linked to America’s rising high school drop out rate–only 68.8 percent of the nation’s students graduated in 2007–TIME reporter Jacob Templin shot a video of YouthBuild Newark students and alumni, which is posted on TIME’s website today.
The video, called “Giving Dropouts a Second Chance,” features interviews with our Executive Director Robert Clark and recent alumni Sara and Kayseem, who are among this year’s 103 YouthBuild Newark graduates. They were filmed working at a South Ward construction site, where they were renovating an apartment to be sold as affordable housing.
Watch the video here!


Latasha: Single mom juggles work, school and dreams

With a toddler son to care for, Latasha worked a succession of minimum wage jobs before she came to YouthBuild Newark. PHOTOS BY AKINTOLA HANIF.

YouthBuild Newark student Latasha longs to live in a place where her son can ride his bike. 

So for the past year, Latasha and Faheem rose at dawn to catch the bus to daycare before her YouthBuild Newark school day began at 8 a.m. 

At 4 p.m., she hopped three buses to her job as a Pathmark cashier, which didn’t end until 11:30. Relatives helped take care of Faheem, her three-year-old, but sometimes he cried for her to stay. Latasha felt a pang of guilt, knowing she wouldn’t see him until the next day. 

“It was hard. I wanted to stay home. But I had to do what I had to do because I knew it would better him in the long run,” says Latasha, who is 23. “I came here because I wanted to be his role model. I can’t tell him finish school if I didn’t. That would be hypocritical.”
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Graduation Day for YouthBuild Newark Class of 2010


YouthBuild Newark’s commencement ceremony yesterday was filled with testimonials from students who, in the words of graduate Ebony, have become better versions of themselves.

“I would not say that I’m a new person, but I’m an improved person,” declared Ebony, one of three students to share her “story of transformation.”

“I’ve learned to trust people…I have faith in myself and I believe in myself,” she said. “I never would have guessed in a million years that I would be getting my high school diploma today.”

Transformation, both personal and collective, is an essential part of YouthBuild Newark’s mission. Since the organization was founded in 2003, students have inspired others with their narratives of hope and possibility. Yesterday, they also sang, read poetry and performed a rap song.
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YouthBuild Newark receives more than $400,000 in Federal Recovery Act funds

YouthBuild Newark students will be put to work with funding from President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. PHOTO BY AKINTOLA HANIF

YouthBuild Newark was one of four New Jersey YouthBuild programs to receive a total of $1.6 million under President Obama’s stimulus package, which was signed into law in February.

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) announced that the Department of Labor (DOL) would award the funds as part of Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, designed to help create jobs during the recession.

“The YouthBuild program provides young adults in New Jersey with the opportunity to further improve their education while learning valuable job skills and providing meaningful services in their neighborhoods,” Lautenberg stated in a press release from his office.

YouthBuild Newark received $412,500 under the program. Isle Inc. in Trenton also received that amount. Two organizations that run YouthBuild programs received $400,000: New Jersey Community Development Corporation in Paterson and the Housing Authority of the City of Camden.

For more information, read the press release on Launterberg’s website here.

YouthBuild Newark students featured in Star-Ledger’s Newark Live

YouthBuild Newark student Carlos is ready for graduation. PHOTO BY AKINTOLA HANIF.

YouthBuild Newark’s soon-to-be graduates and alumni had a chance to share their stories in Newark Live, a weekly pull-out section of The Star-Ledger. You can find the story here.

The students who were profiled have faced many obstacles. Jamillah, a graduate and administrative intern at YouthBuild Newark, resorted to dealing drugs to take care of her young children. Carlos dropped out of school to work for his dad, but wasted his time partying. Juan, who grew up in foster care, joined a gang and was locked up for stealing cars.

But they all completed the YouthBuild Newark program and found some stability. They have been taking college courses or planning to enroll. A key to their success has been the relationships formed with staff and classmates, who’ll be there for them even after they graduate.

YouthBuild Newark Awards $3.6 Million to Four NJ Non-Profits

YouthBuild Newark's program for youthful offenders will soon be state-wide. PHOTO BY AKINTOLA HANIF.

YouthBuild Newark has selected four New Jersey organizations to receive United States Department of Labor (DOL) funds to replicate its youthful offender program model in four high-need cities throughout New Jersey.

The four sub-recipients are Brand New Day, Inc., serving Elizabeth, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark, serving Jersey City; Covenant House New Jersey, which will serve Atlantic City; and St. Paul’s Community Development Organization, serving Passaic City. The replication effort is supported by the State of New Jersey Office of the Attorney General (OAG), which will act as a key partner.

YouthBuild Newark’s youthful offender model helps juvenile ex-offenders between the ages of 16 and 21 includes education, job training, youth development, leadership training and community revitalization efforts. In particular, YouthBuild Newark students are taught construction skills that are applied on-site at affordable housing developments. Read More

YouthBuild Newark student Earlie: New haircut, new life

Before and after photos of YouthBuild Newark student Earlie, who cut his hair after enlisting in the Navy. PHOTOS BY AKINTOLA HANIF.

It was hard not to notice Earlie dreadlocks. The tips were bright green–he dyed them for St. Patrick’s Day– and they stayed that way until a few weeks ago.

That’s when Earlie, 18, decided to get a haircut, his first since age 14, when he began growing his shoulder-length dreads. Without them, even his five-month-old son, Mazi, had trouble recognizing Earlie until he adjusted to dad’s new look.

But the haircut helped Earlie get a job at FedEx as an “inbound docker,” operating a forklift. And it will save him a trip to the barber when he goes to Navy boot camp in August.
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