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25 YouthBuild students find a “way ahead” with Gap, Inc. internships

August 1, 2016
This summer, YouthBuild Philly and Gap, Inc. launched the first summer of “This Way Ahead” internships for opportunity youth at Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic store locations in the Philadelphia area. Twenty-five YouthBuild students and recent alumni are working in nine stores gaining real-world work experience, with supplemental professional development training to build customer service and career decision-making skills.  The goal of the partnership is to give students the critical first-job experience that can open more doors in the future, and to prepare students for possible full-time employment opportunities at Gap, Inc. stores after the ten-week internships.


“It’s a new opportunity I can put on my resume,” said Yasir, a student working at an Old Navy location in Delaware County.  “I feel really comfortable at the store and with my team. The experience is teaching me how to be more organized.  A typical day at the store is really busy, but it’s a cool environment to be around!”


“I decided to apply to the Old Navy internship because I like working with people and was interested in the retail experience,” said Paul, an intern at the Old Navy at Franklin Mills. “My coworkers are helpful and I really like the managers. I’ve learned how to greet customers and work with the team to help customers find what they’re looking for. This job is an opportunity for me to get out of the house and out into the world, and to become a young adult. It’s not always that easy to just go out there and find a job if you don’t have experience, but now I do. I’ve changed as a person.”
Old Navy and Gap interns are in their fourth week of the ten-week experience; Banana Republic internships just started this week. Stay tuned for more updates from this exciting new partnership!

Local foundations aid Student Support Fund

July 31, 2016
  • The Wawa Foundation champions important causes with a particular focus on health, hunger, and heroes. Just after the Independence Day holiday, YouthBuild Philly received a grant from The Wawa Foundation help address our students’ nutritional needs. This grant will be applied toward stocking our pantries and refrigerator in our student lounge so that students will have access to fresh food during the school day.
  • The White and Richardson Trust, through the Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of Friends, also selected YouthBuild Philly’s Student Support Fund as a grant recipient for May 2016. This funding will be used to provide meals and snacks for students, as well as address housing emergencies through need-based grants.
  • If you would like to donate to the YouthBuild Philly Student Support Fund, you may do so through Network for Good.

Ribbon Cutting Event at 2006 & 2008 W. Wingohocking St.

June 30, 2016

Yesterday we celebrated the completion of two new LEED-targeted homes, a project that spanned 3 years and engaged over 180 YouthBuild students in construction training! The properties at 2006 & 2008 W. Wingohocking were transformed from abandoned houses into affordable, energy-efficient homes that will be sold through Nicetown CDC to first-time homebuyers.

The ribbon cutting ceremony featured remarks by representatives from YouthBuild USA, Nicetown CDC, the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia City Council, Saint-Gobain, and YouthBuild Philly. YouthBuild student Maine Robbins took the podium to acknowledge his peers and predecessors for the hard work that they’d put into the properties, and described the importance of sustainable building for our planet’s future.

Following the ceremony, we celebrated with a neighborhood block party and gave tours of the homes.
Many thanks to the partners who made this ambitious project a possibility.  Our students learned valuable skills because of this project, and can take pride for the rest of their lives in having rebuilt a house for a deserving family.  That is an amazing thing to give to young people and we are so grateful for all the people and organizations who made it possible.
In addition to our project partners Saint-Gobain, YouthBuild USA, CertainTeed and Nicetown CDC, we would like to thank the following groups for their funding support for this project: U.S. Department of Labor, AmeriCorps, City of Philadelphia Office of Housing and Community Development, Philadelphia Youth Network, and Bike & Build.  Special acknowledgements to Saint-Gobain, GSK, Starbucks, East River Bank, Bike &Build, and LEADERSHIP Philadelphia for providing volunteer support during the renovation process as well.

YouthBuild Launches Student Support Fund

June 30, 2016
Did you know that more than 75% of YouthBuild Philly students come from low-income households? This means that many of them experience food insecurity during their time at YouthBuild. Our newest fundraising campaign, the YouthBuild Philly Student Support Fund, provides nutritious meals, snacks, and need-based grants to our students. Our goal is to raise $10,000 before August 31 to help provide for our newest enrollees throughout the 2016-2017 school year.

Thanksgiving 2013

Please make a gift today to help support this effort – you may do so online (please make sure you designate your gift to the Student Support Fund) or by sending us a check.
If you’d like to show your support in person, join our Young Friends at our series of happy hour events this summer, in coordination with Parks on Tap!  Get more info or purchase tickets here.

Video: Why We Love YouthBuild

May 27, 2016

We asked a few students and recent alumni why they loved YouthBuild, and put their responses in a video. We’re very touched by what our students said about YouthBuild, and grateful to our supporters for helping us be a school that students can love!

(We’re happy to add that Aineias, a graduate of YouthBuild who talks about his 21st birthday in this video, turned 21 earlier this week.)


PHOTOS: Young Professionals break down YB’s vocational training tracks!

February 23, 2016

YouthBuild’s Young Professionals – a group of student leaders that meets on Mondays to talk about leadership, problem solving and professional development – participated in a photo activity this week to teach their peers (and the public!) about their vocational training program.

Here’s what they had to say about the Business Administration Scholars (BAS) program, Greenbuild,  Child Development Associate (CDA) training, Building & Deconstruction, and Healthcare.

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What else would you like to know about our vocational training programs?  Leave a question in the comments!

Student Leadership Trip to Baltimore

February 18, 2016

The Student Life department organized a field trip to Baltimore last Friday so that students could visit the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum there. This was an eye-opening experience for many students, who later shared their reflections in writing on social media. One student reflected on black history in connection with her decision to apply to college, posting a photo of her Esperanza College application along with the caption:

Even though I’m scared, I look forward to this next chapter in my life. It’s crazy how a simple trip to a museum can impact your life in a great way. Seeing how resilient they where regardless of their situation really gets to the mind & heart…

Another student wrote:

Yesterday I was able to attend a trip to the Great Blacks in Wax museum. The emotions and vibes I felt were unreal. I saw the real truth and horror of what blacks had to endure throughout history. But I also witnessed something almost indescribable. I saw their hope, pride, and optimism. Even in the face of death and immense oppression, their inner passion to fight for what they wanted was remarkable. I learned that even if people says that you are less than what you are you should never let that stop you from trying to achieve what you really want even if it is impossible. Class of 2016, don’t give up. We are almost finished. Remember your resilience!


These reflections are a testament to the importance of travel and new experiences for young people’s personal growth and worldview.  Shout-out to the Student Life staff who organized the trip!

If you would like to support another travel opportunity to YouthBuild students, please consider making a donation to support our Spring Break Service Trip, which will take 20 YouthBuild students to Utuado, Puerto Rico for a volunteer project next month.  Making a gift online is a great way to support the trip – or you can attend the Young Friends Spring Break fundraiser at North Bowl on March 3!  Tickets are available online.




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