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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!
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.
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.
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
Most YouthBuild Newark students haven’t heard stories of apartheid, a form of racial segregation similar to the Jim Crow laws of the South. But they have some things in common with the youth of South Africa, which didn’t abolish apartheid until 1994.
“Although we may be worlds apart, the issues we face are very much the same: Poverty, unemployment. I hear you have a high drop-out rate in Newark, too…And I’m sure you’ve probably experienced some form of racism,” Yershen Pillay, an official with the South African National Youth Development Agency told students. (NYDA)
But the South African government sees YouthBuild as a way to change that. Read more
Tags: arbor day, volunteers, youthbuild newark
A tree grows in the Newark neighborhood Ashanti used to call home. And she planted it there.
Ashanti was one of several YouthBuild Newark students who celebrated Arbor Day by planting cherry trees, maples and red pines in the Fairmount section of the city, where the streets are dotted with burnt-out, boarded up buildings.
But the mass planting, coordinated by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, brightened six blocks around the 13th Avenue School, where more than 500 volunteers from all over the state, including Newark Mayor Cory Booker, planted a total of 221 trees.
It wasn’t easy. As YouthBuild student Ebony learned, the rocky soil near the school was tough to dig up, and the trees weighed a few hundred pounds. Read More