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After being selected for their thoughtful essays on leadership, YBN students, Chareece and Rosetta found themselves at the 25th Annual AmeriCorps Conference of Young Leaders (CoYL) in Arlington, Virginia along with 115 students. Students, graduates, and staff from over 60 YouthBuild programs across the country gathered to collaborate around the theme “We Rep, We Serve, We Lead” and address youth leadership, national service, and positive youth representation.

 

Together with their fellow YouthBuilders, Chareece and Rosetta participated in workshops led by YouthBuild graduates on topics that ranged from public speaking to college readiness. The series of events culminated with YouthBuild students engaging legislators on Capitol Hill to talk about the importance of YouthBuild programs in local communities and the positive impact YouthBuild has had in their lives.

 

Chareece said, “It was a great experience. It made me realize that we all go through the same struggles, even though there’s a bunch of different YouthBuild programs.” Out of the many things she learned, she plans to incorporate “shout-outs” into her daily routine – at the end of each week, she will recognize a student or staff for something great s/he did.

 

Rosetta particularly enjoyed how quickly she developed relationships with other participants. “I realized that YouthBuild is a family,” she said. “There was an instant connection.” Among Rosetta’s many takeaways from the event was the importance of showing appreciation. She said, “Dorothy Stoneman [YouthBuild USA Founder] did something that gave people second chances. It was good to know someone cared about you before even knowing you.”

 

To learn more about the event and view additional photos, click here.