A YouthBuild week in photos

Happy almost-Halloween! We love these photos of our students volunteering at last night’s Haunted House at the Athletic Recreation Center in Brewerytown.  Service comes in many forms, from helping to haunting!

Today marks the end of Session One, which is YB-speak for the first six weeks of vocational training and academic preparation. After a transition week, students currently on the worksite will switch over to academics and vice versa.  We can already see big changes in our students at the end of this first session, and a vibrant school community has formed.  Here are a few highlights from this week.  No more scary masks from this point forward, we promise!

Automotive Day at Community College of Philadelphia

Although school only started last month, students are already exploring career and college options through field trips and college tours. For example, this week our Postsecondary Career Development department took a small group of students to the Community College of Philadelphia’s West Philadelphia campus to learn more about the Automotive Technology programs offered there.

Engaging Academics

From writing autobiographies to isolating strawberry DNA, students who started the year in academic training have shown consistent creativity and curiosity in the classroom. The student who took these pictures in her science class remarked, “science class at YouthBuild is way better than your average high school!”

Hands-on Vocational Training and Service

Students in vocational training this session focused not only on developing their technical skills and professionalism, but also on using those skills in service to the community. For example, our Business Administration Scholars put their customer service and administration skills to good use at SHARE Foods, a community food bank in North Philadelphia, by packing and managing the food inventory.  During the last week of Session One, many Academic teachers visited worksites to see what their students had been up to and to start building relationships with students in anticipation of next session.  Here’s Language Arts teacher Ms. Sandra making a difference at SHARE:

After-school service opportunities

12189004_157508587933954_4867743644017313551_nOur Community Projects Coordinators are working hard to connect YouthBuild students to service opportunities throughout the city.  In September, CPCs organized over 50 hours’ worth of service opportunities for YouthBuild students, and have even more planned through December. Service offers YouthBuild students an opportunity to develop their leadership skills, connect with a broader community, and enjoy the experience of giving back.  We love this photo from a math tutoring session earlier this week!

This is just a small sample of photos representing all that happens in a week at YouthBuild. We’ve had a great first six weeks, and are looking forward to next session!

Transformation Interviews: Volunteers Help Students Prepare for Next Steps

Over 75 volunteers participated in the 2011 Transformation Interviews, YouthBuild Philadelphia’s capstone project, to help students formally demonstrate their readiness to transition to post-secondary education and careers. Volunteers joined staff members for the panel interviews, and asked students to reflect on their time at YouthBuild and discuss personal strengths, skills, and goals.

Transformation Interviews were held June 7-10, but students began preparing months in advance through a special course and Saturday School practice sessions.  The process was designed to prepare students for a real world interview, and improve professionalism and public speaking skills.

Sierra Pugh, Class of 2011

“In the Transformation Interview class, I learned how to dress appropriately, have eye contact, and speak loudly and clearly,” said student Sierra Pugh. “The questions in the final interview got me ready for my next interview for a job.”

Volunteers from the Young Friends of YouthBuild, and the Junior League of Philadelphia helped students prepare through one-on-one interviews and practice panels during Saturday School in April and May.

“Volunteers are a critical part of the Transformation Interview process because they provide feedback to students from outside our YouthBuild world,” said Maggie Larson, YouthBuild’s Community Projects Coordinator responsible for overseeing Transformation Interviews. “‘Students are asked to step outside their comfort zone and engage with our volunteers in ways that foster connections and provide invaluable communication and interview experience with working professionals.”

Photos from the practice sessions:

Learn about volunteer opportunities at YouthBuild and sign-up here!

Summer for Success

As we head into the Summer Session, the traditional YouthBuild schedule of alternating academic and vocational instruction has concluded. To help students prepare for the transition into the next phase of their lives, they have an array of exciting opportunities to take advantage of in the coming weeks, including:

  • A residential summer bridge program at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster, PA, where they will earn college credits while getting a real sense of college life by living on campus.
  • Earning college credits and gaining a sense of college level work through an elective class and a freshman seminar at the Community College of Philadelphia, which will prepare students for what to expect when they enter as full-time students in the fall.
  • Six-week internships in the student’s field of interest to gain hands-on job experience.
  • A Pre-Apprenticeship construction program which guarantees job placement after successful completion of the 8 week training.
  • Earning credits toward an Automotive Certificate at Lincoln Technical Institute.
  • A six-week Home Health Aide certification class .
  • Additional academic or vocational instruction for students who need more support.

All students will stay connected with the YouthBuild support system while participating in an individualized, meaningful experience that will prepare them for their post-YouthBuild goals.

Partnering for Success

This summer, ten students gained the full college experience through Stepping to Success, a four week residential program at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. We partnered with the technical college in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to better prepare students for full-time college.

The students were exposed to a variety of the college’s vocational offerings, such as carpentry and masonry, as well as computer and life skills through two pre-college courses. Each student constructed a stepping stone in the masonry course to exemplify and commemorate the steps taken toward their future through the program. By living in dorms, eating in dining halls, and taking advantage of recreational facilities, the students experienced all that campus life has to offer.

The innovative partnership program with Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology exemplifies the ways in which we are continually expanding the opportunities available to students for post-secondary and career exploration. We are excited to develop a partnership with an organization that shares our mission of providing the highest quality education and opportunities to young people at varying levels of ability.

We look forward to expanding on this partnership with Thaddeus Stevens, as well as other local technical schools and colleges, to assist our students in learning what it means to succeed not only in post-secondary school but on their own.

**If you are interested in learning more about our post-secondary partnerships, please contact Director of Transition Services, Marty Molloy

Click on a thumbnail to see larger photos: