Prudential volunteers and YouthBuild Newark students work together

YouthBuild Newark students and Prudential employees measure sheetrock together. PHOTO BY AKINTOLA HANIF


Prudential employees got a piece of the sheetrock today when they went to work at YouthBuild Newark’s newest program site, under construction on 15th Avenue.

About ten volunteers from Prudential’s Real Estate Department got construction tips from students, who showed them how to measure and install sheetrock.

After a short time on the job, they had already learned a few things.

“I’m definitely learning safety first and communication is the key,” said Tony Stivale, Vice President of Corporate Real Estate at Prudential.

“The thing that came out so far is measure twice, not once,” added Stivale, who hadn’t done sheetrocking since he worked on his own house several years ago.

Before they got to work, volunteers learned about the history of YouthBuild Newark and plans for the site, which YBN hopes to open in the fall. It will include four classrooms and offices for case managers.

“This is a fabulous thing they’re doing here,” said Stivale. “I’m happy to see this.”

In addition to the free labor, Prudential has given much to YouthBuild Newark over the years. YBN was founded with a grant from the Prudential Foundation, which supplies YouthBuild Newark with annual funds.

Prudential volunteers and YouthBuild Newark students at YBN's 15th Ave. site. PHOTO BY AKINTOLA HANIF

Prudential’s Social Investments program helped YouthBuild Newark finance the renovations for the 15th Avenue building, where construction began last year.

Although the Prudential volunteers had varying amounts of construction experience, they didn’t need much coaching, said students.

“If you know how to measure, you’ll be alright,” said one student, who came to YouthBuild Newark to learn carpentry and would like to make it a career.

“They’re being very patient with us,” said Anna King, Real Estate Coordinator with Prudential. “They’ll help you, but they let you do it on your own, too.”

Andrew Kolen, a Vice-president of Corporate Real Estate, was impressed by the students’ drive. “We’ve learned that they’re quite ambitious,” he said.

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