Celebrating Black History Month Today and Everyday

YouthBuild’s African American students make up approximately 94% of the enrolled population. This number includes 6% of those who identify as multi-racial ethnicities. The identity that has been built around our entire student group, eludes excellence within the school and communities which we are a part of. The relationships that are built amongst our students reminds us every day that Black History is not only in the past – it is all around us and it is for everyone.

Black history is American history. A history full of endless parts and elements that are shared and carried through our current lifestyles. Lessons from our historic-past are intertwined with the way that our staff and students show care and support for one another today and every day. 

Black History runs far and wide in our world. There is not just one story to tell. YouthBuild students are young leaders who decided to not only enrich their lives and minds but the lives of the people who live amongst them as well. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words but what is history worth? “Our Future!” The students fully understand that their future is fueled by their current actions. Whether the conversation is health, wellness or academics, taking a moment to recognize Black achievements brings celebration back to our lives.

Our students are exemplars of Black History. They have proven that there is no such thing as a big or small triumph. Their limitless contributing factors include, tackling things like leadership, pioneer successes, and game-changing events. Same sacrifice, love, bravery, and determination – just a different time, name, face and individual story. Let’s celebrate overcoming struggles and pain points together. We all continue to do so in our unique lives and situations which is what keeps us all connected.

As Black History Month comes to an end, YB Philly hopes to inspire you to please carry the same understanding and inspiration with you throughout the rest of the year.

To stay up to date with YouthBuild Philly, please follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @YouthBuildPhl. 

-Peace, YB Philly

New Casey Foundation Investment in Philadelphia Aims to Improve Job Prospects for Young Adults

YouthBuild Philly is proud to be a core partner in Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Generation Work initiative. Philadelphia has been named one of five cities to receive a four-year grant to improve employment opportunities for young adults.

This work is strongly aligned with our vision of improving opportunities for young people across the city. We look forward to all the collaboration ahead with AECF, JOIN Collaborative, 1199C Training Fund and Philadelphia Youth Network, Inc. – and the many stakeholders this project will engage – to address youth unemployment in Philadelphia and beyond.

Read on for the full release:

New Casey Foundation Investment in Philadelphia Aims to Improve   Job Prospects for Young Adults

Nearly $1 Million to be Awarded Over Four Years to Strengthen the Next Generation of Workers and Meet Employer Demand

PHILADELPHIA — The Annie E. Casey Foundation announced today that it will award $6 million in grants over the next four years to increase job opportunities for America’s young adults in five cities, enabling them to begin building careers and develop the skills employers need. Nearly $1 million will be invested in Philadelphia through a new, nimble, initiative called Generation Work.

Generation Work will bring the best efforts of employers, funders, policymakers and practitioners together to match training and education with the skills needed in the workplace. This project leverages the collective expertise of four nationally-recognized core partners in Philadelphia — the Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN), Philadelphia Youth Network, YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School, and District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund – and connects Philadelphia to a national learning community for four years of investment by the Casey Foundation in building the infrastructure needed to get more young adults working.

“Our future workforce is one of our nation’s greatest assets, and we cannot compete globally unless it is strong,” said Allison Gerber, a senior associate who oversees the Casey Foundation’s investments in improving job opportunities for low-income individuals and families. “The next generation is eager to work, but we must create more avenues for young adults to develop the knowledge and experience they need to succeed in the job market.”

While the Great Recession hit many hard, teens and young adults have experienced the most drastic drop in employment, data shows. In Philadelphia the need for action and change is urgent; nearly one in five young Philadelphians is disconnected – out of work and out of school. Across the country, millions of young people — particularly young people of color and from low-income families — face obstacles to employment or education, and the percentage of young people ages 18–29 in the job market has steadily declined in recent years. At the same time, employers often struggle to find workers with the right set of skills for available positions.

Generation Work aims to combine building relationships with businesses, factoring in their needs in the local economy, with youth development strategies to prepare young people for work, such as mentoring and on-the-job learning opportunities.

“Through Generation Work, we aim to transform Philadelphia’s skill development landscape so that all young adults (18-29) have access to relevant, engaging careers and employers have access to strong, productive talent pipelines,” said Jennie Sparandara, Director of JOIN.

“We can only do this through partnerships with employers, funders, practitioners and policymakers that share the same commitment to strengthening our workforce,” added Jim Cawley, president and CEO, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ), the managing partner of the JOIN funders collaborative.”

Philadelphia was selected for funding because it has demonstrated a promising approach to young adult employment, with a particular focus on those facing some of the greatest obstacles to getting a job; the ability to effectively implement services for young job seekers and employers; and the potential to help foster broader uptake of their approaches in their respective geographic areas, among other strengths.

“Partnership is the key to success when it comes to aligning all of our best strategies, citywide, to ensure young Philadelphians are able to reach the next level in their professional and personal goals,” said Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network. “We are able to reach higher, and achieve greater results when we grow together as a team. I look forward to working with 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund, YouthBuild and other leaders to combine our collective efforts and systemic tools to expand opportunity so that access to employment and education are no longer hurdles to jump, but doors to open.”

JOIN, housed and managed by UWGPSNJ, will serve as the grant manager. The Foundation’s award will be used in the first year to engage key stakeholders and plan the implementation and evaluation of strategies to increase young adults’ access to job opportunities. Funding in subsequent years will support  documenting the impact of their efforts and promoting the use of these strategies on a broad scale in the public, private and nonprofit sector.


The Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN) is a partnership between philanthropy, government, community organizations and employers that develops and supports innovative efforts to eliminate the mismatch between the level of skill required for high growth jobs and the much lower skill level of many working age Philadelphians. JOIN is housed and managed by United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. For more information, visit www.joincollaborative.org.

The Philadelphia Youth Network is an intermediary organization dedicated to equipping young people with the skills necessary to accomplish academic achievement, economic opportunity and personal success. To succeed in this mission, we bring together cross-sector partners from around the city to expand access to services for underserved youth and young adults ages 12-24. For more information, visit www.pyninc.org

District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund – District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund, a labor management partnership comprised of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees AFSCME and 50 healthcare employers, serves as a healthcare workforce intermediary and an educational institution. Since its creation in 1974, the Training Fund has built the capacity of the Delaware Valley’s healthcare industry to create a highly-skilled workforce through on-the-job training opportunities and the development of an education pipeline of skilled talent that matches the workforce needs of Delaware Valley healthcare employers. For more information visit www.1199ctraining.org/

YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School – The mission of YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School is to provide out-of-school youth in Philadelphia with the broadest range of tools, supports and opportunities available to become self-sufficient, responsible and productive citizens in their community. The first year of our program offers high school dropouts a second chance to earn their diplomas while developing vital job skills through rigorous academics, vocational training and community service; the second year supports them towards success in employment or postsecondary education. Learn more at http://www.youthbuildphilly.org/

The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org.

Help YouthBuild Philly win $500,000!

THANK YOU for your support!  We won $25,000 from Chase Community Giving as part of the Top 100 in Round 1! We could not have done this without the support of all our friends on Facebook.

Finishing in the Top 100 has now put us into the running for an even bigger prize – up to $500,000! You can check out our BIG IDEA video and learn  how we will use the prize money.

We are the only program in Philadelphia, only Pennsylvania Charter School, only YouthBuild program, and one of only few AmeriCorps programs in the running for this prize, so we have a real shot, but we need your help.

Can we count on your vote on Thursday, May 19?

Please RSVP here on Facebook.

The most important thing you can do is vote here on May 19. Next, please get all your friends involved. Here’s a list of tips to help us win:

1. MAKE THE CASE. Share links to compelling videos about YouthBuild and ask them to vote:

2. CREATE VISIBILITY. Help us build a buzz.

3. SPREAD THE WORD. Share the voting link with everyone you know (use Templates found here)

  • Send out a mass email
  • Post to your Facebook wall
  • Tweet on Twitter

4. MAKE IT PERSONAL. As much as possible, make personal asks to your friends, family contacts.

  • Customize template email, then copy and paste into individual emails
  • Send individual Facebook messages
  • Use Facebook chat – ask friends while they’re on Facebook!
  • Post on your friends’ walls
  • Ask in person (pick up the phone!)

5. SAY THANK YOU. Acknowledge your friends when they vote.

  • Make sure to “Like” status updates when a friends votes and/or shares the link
  • Post a thank you on your wall

6. WHEN IN DOUBT, GO TO FACEBOOK. All of the links are on YouthBuild Philly’s page.

  • Click “Share” on a video posted on our page
  • Click “Share” the link to vote
  • Invite friends to the “Vote for YouthBuild” event

Questions? Contact Kristen Forbriger at kforbriger@youthbuildphilly.org

Vote for us on Facebook – Help us win a donation from Chase!

Chase Community Giving is donating another $5 million dollars to charities and non-profit organizations through Facebook, and YouthBuild Philadelphia is in the running!

Please take two minutes RIGHT NOW to vote for us!

Here’s how:

First, you have to “LIKE” Chase Community Giving here: Follow this link to their page.

Then go to this page to VOTE for YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School!

Chase Community Giving

After you VOTE, it will ask you to ALLOW Chase Community Giving access to your Facebook. Please click ALLOW.

You can make sure your vote is counted by checking THIS PAGE (it should say “thanks for your vote”).

Most importantly, SHARE this on your Facebook status! (Copy and paste this link: http://bit.ly/vote4youthbuildphilly and ask your friends to vote!)

It takes a few steps, but your effort will help YouthBuild continue our important work in Philadelphia, and allow us to support our students as they transition to college and careers!

You have 10 votes, so find a few other organizations your support and vote for them to join us in the top 100!


ADVOCACY ALERT: Support the National YouthBuild Movement!

Last month, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1 (the Continuing Resolution for FY’11), which proposed to cut over $60 billion in government spending for the rest of the fiscal year. The measure called for the elimination of both YouthBuild and the Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps). See the proposed cuts here (PDF).

While the Senate defeated this proposal last week, it also defeated the alternative bill, which would have level-funded these programs, over concerns that there were not enough funding cuts contained in that bill. Another short-term Continuing Resolution passed, and it expires this Friday, March 18th.

Congress is likely to pass at least one more temporary extension before reaching a compromise (on Friday, the House Appropriations Committee introduced another Continuing Resolution to allow government spending to continue from March 19th to April 8th). This gives us a terrific opportunity to once again provide our elected officials with information regarding the effectiveness and scope of YouthBuild programs.

How can YOU help?

1. Call your U.S. Representatives and Senators TODAY, March 16th to urge him/her to keep YouthBuild appropriations level funded in FY’11 (see talking points for each elected official below). Showing a coordinated effort will help strengthen our cause so please, please participate.  Policymakers insist that they need to hear more from their constituents to know what is important to the people in their Districts – these phone calls do make a difference!

2. Ask Corporate Supporters to sign on to a support letter for YouthBuild. (Click here for the letter.) Corporate supporters do not need to send their signature:  just an email to mmolloy@youthbuildphilly.org telling me the name and title of the person who should be listed.  Click here for a draft email you can send to your contacts requesting their help, to be modified according to your relationship.  Our deadline is next Thursday, March 17th.

3. Sign this online petition to support YouthBuild (Click here). YouthBuild alumni from across the nation are mobilizing online to save federal YouthBuild funding. Please show your support by signing this online petition and sharing it with your friends.

Continue reading “ADVOCACY ALERT: Support the National YouthBuild Movement!”