YouthBuild Programs – Building Community, Building LivesNovember 27, 2018 Abigail Hartung, a 20-year-old from Redmond, Oregon, builds affordable housing for low-income people as part of her YouthBuild program at the Heart of Oregon Corps in Sisters. She earns a monthly stipend and will get an education award ($1,538) to pay for college or vocational school.
“I first learned about YouthBuild when I was in another program – AmeriCorps. I found out there was an education component of YouthBuild. I thought it would be really good for me, because I didn’t finish high school. I struggled in high school and YouthBuild helps me get my high school diploma,” said Abigail who recently passed two GED tests.
Through the program, participants acquire a high school diploma, GED, or college credits. They also acquire industry-recognized certifications.
With YouthBuild programs, participants learn to be leaders. They put in hundreds of hours of volunteer service in their community. They build affordable housing that is environmentally friendly. They learn construction skills and gain environmental expertise. YouthBuild participants gain experience in public speaking and speak about issues that affect them.
“We learn how to work with different construction tools. We improve our communication, writing, and interviewing skills for jobs,” Abigail said about the skills she is learning at YouthBuild.
After YouthBuild, Abigail plans to go back to AmeriCorps and work in landscaping at the Bend Parks and Recreation District.
To apply, you must be 16 to 24 years old and a U.S. citizen or resident who is allowed to work in the U.S. You must have an interest in building trades, construction, or energy conservation, and meet income qualifications.
In Oregon, there are three organizations offering YouthBuild programs:
- Heart of Oregon Corps in Sisters, where youth from Central Oregon can apply,
- Portland YouthBuilders in Portland, and
- Community Services Consortium YouthBuild in Linn County.