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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 TIME.com.
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!

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 inspires South Africans

YouthBuild Newark students show South African officials our independent living facility under construction on South Orange Avenue. PHOTO BY AKINTOLA HANIF

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

YouthBuild Newark Volunteers Plant Trees for Arbor Day

Ashanti plants a flowering cherry tree in the neighborhood where she was raised. PHOTO BY AKINTOLA HANIF.

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