In August 2012, Class of 2012 graduate Ciera delivered the following remarks to her class at a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completed rehabilitation of a formerly abandoned home in Germantown.
In the past year, this house was completely transformed. So was my life. When I first saw the house, there were holes in the floor and the wallpaper was peeling all the way down to the brick. It was literally an abandoned house. I had a lot of doubts about whether I could complete the program, and even more doubts about whether a group of inexperienced students could rebuild the home.
Thanks to our instructors, we’ve learned new building skills that have opened my eyes to what I can do with my life. Sometimes this year I would come home from working on the house and try out things I’d learned on my mom’s house – like fixing a hole in her ceiling! Before YouthBuild I’d never even picked up a piece of pipe in my life; now I will be attending Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in the fall to study plumbing.
While we’ve refurbished the house on Greene Street, we’ve also refurbished our lives at YouthBuild. I’ve learned important life skills like teamwork, time management, and being able to trust others. I have learned how to take criticism, and how to be a leader who is responsible for the success of a project.
Working on the Greene Street Project has given me so much confidence. I had doubted that we could succeed in rebuilding this house, but we did it and it looks amazing. This makes me imagine all the things I used to doubt, that I actually can do.
This house makes me feel like I can do just about anything.
This week, Ciera is completing her first semester of college less than 18 months after enrolling at YouthBuild as an out-of-school youth.
Please make a gift today to support YouthBuild and young people like Ciera working hard to build a better life for themselves. With your help, we’re creating a brighter future for motivated, at-risk youth in Philadelphia.