Class of 2012 student Tahir Ingram (who you may remember from this Q&A back in October) has received a First Place recognition for the YouthBuild AmeriCorps Award for Outstanding Community Service. This award identifies students from YouthBuild programs across the country who have excelled in their service as AmeriCorps members during their time as YouthBuild students. As a first place winner of the award, Tahir was able to attend the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Chicago, Il from June 18 to 20.
“The panel felt that Tahir embodies a commitment to service, shows a willingness to take initiative and go above and beyond what is expected, and, through his actions, has a clear positive impact on his program and his community,” said Jill Graham, the AmeriCorps Portfolio Manager for YouthBuild USA, which serves as an intermediary for AmeriCorps and other funding to YouthBuild programs nationwide.
YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School is an alternative education program for former high school dropouts. In addition to the school’s academic and vocational training requirements, students must also complete at least 675 hours of volunteer service as AmeriCorps members in order to graduate. Upon completion of their service hours, students are eligible for an AmeriCorps education award of $2,100 towards their education after YouthBuild.
Tahir, 20, will graduate in August having completed the school’s academic and vocational training requirements, as well as more than 1,000 hours of volunteer service. His service in Philadelphia has included time spent volunteering as a coach for a youth gymnastics program and at local hunger relief organization Philabundance; additionally, Tahir was selected along with other YouthBuild Philadelphia students earlier in the year to be part of a service learning trip to Utuado, Puerto Rico where the group cleared trails for an organic coffee farm. He enjoyed attending the National Conference on Volunteering and Service this week with other volunteers from around the country and “being around people with a similar drive and aspiration.”
“I like to help people and feel like I’m making a difference,” said Tahir, noting that he’d been volunteering in Philadelphia prior to attending YouthBuild. His service sites and fellow volunteers “felt like a family” to him. He plans to attend Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster, Pa in the fall, where he will study architecture. In addition to focusing on his studies, he hopes to be involved at Thaddeus Stevens in student leadership, peer tutoring, and other campus activities.