Students and staff honor MLK Day of Service

More than 200 students and staff members of YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School joined 75,000 volunteers throughout the greater Philadelphia area on Monday, Jan. 17, 2011 for the 16th Annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service.

First Lady Lisa Nutter and YouthBuild Philadelphia Shaniqua Redding worked together to refurbish a computer.

Students in YouthBuild’s Building Trades training program led a rehabilitation project at the Athletic Recreation Center, a magnificent old Philadelphia structure located at 1400 N. 26th Street. Students worked alongside volunteers from DMi Partners to paint the interior, construct shelving and closets, make improvements to the boxing gym, and build computer stations.

Also at the Athletic, students in YouthBuild’s Healthcare training program created wellness and sexual awareness kits with information and resource materials donated by Youth Health Empowerment Project (YHEP) and the Food Trust. They delivered the kits to local health centers and community organizations.

YouthBuild’s IT training program, including students and staff, helped to lead more than 100 volunteers in a computer refurbishing project at The Greater Philadelphia MLK Day of Service Signature Site at Girard College (via Philadelphia Inquirer). The project launched Philadelphia Freedom Rings, a partnership initiative working to close the digital divide.  Watch Fox29 news coverage of the project including an interview with YouthBuild’s IT Coordinator and AmeriCorps member.

Students in YouthBuild’s Building Trades training program also constructed bookshelves at Girard College in partnership with the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP).

In addition, YouthBuild provided other volunteer services for various individuals and organizations at locations around Philadelphia. The major efforts were construction projects led by students in YouthBuild’s Building Trades training program, including:

Penrose Playground and Community Center:  YouthBuild students and volunteers continued a renovation of Penrose Community Center launched last year on the MLK Day of Service. A public community playground and pool, this center serves as a recreation facility in a low-income neighborhood in North Philadelphia. The project included the installation of shelves, clearing space and building workstations for new computers, and constructing frames for paintings.

Nicetown CDC Community Center: As part of an ongoing relationship with Nicetown CDC, YouthBuild students and staff painted the interior of the building. Students also constructed bookshelves for the afterschool program.

John F Hartranft Elementary School Recreation Center: Students constructed stationary beds for the elementary school’s community garden, in partnership with EducationWorks.

YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School is dedicated to volunteer service and reconnects youth to their community through civic engagement. In the past 17 years, YouthBuild students have rehabilitated over 75 homes for low-income families, refurbished more than 2,500 computers, and provided thousands of volunteer hours to long-term care facilities and community organizations. YouthBuild Philadelphia was honored for its many years of involvement in the MLK Day of Service by the Eleventh Annual Harris Wofford Award for Active Citizenship in 2009.

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