Several programs converge on the Capitol for a day of service and a visit to the State House.

From New Jersey to Los Angeles, YouthBuild programs will be participating in the First Annual National YouthBuild Day on Thursday, April 3rd. On National YouthBuild Day, youth and young adults will be telling their stories and engaged in a myriad of community service and housing projects across the country.

In New Jersey, several YouthBuild programs will convene in Trenton to engage in a community service project prior to heading to the State House. Students will participate in a clean-up effort in Trenton’s historic Cadwalader Park. The City of Trenton will provide supplies in support of the clean-up of the 100-acre park designed in 1891 by famed Frederick Law Olmsted. Students will help in the beautification around the museum that’s located on the premises.

“National YouthBuild Day shines a light on a successful, evidenced-based movement that is impacting thousands of young people and rebuilding neighborhoods,” shares Marty Johnson, CEO of Isles in Trenton.

Early afternoon, students will have the opportunity to meet briefly with State Senator and Assistant Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz who, among her many roles, is the Chairperson of the Education Committee. With quality education being the foundation of the YouthBuild program model, the coalition of agencies is appreciative of the opportunity to dialogue with a champion of education. Robert Guarasci, Founder and CEO of the New Jersey Community Development Corporation, noted, “Education, coupled with quality workforce development training and leadership development, are key elements to helping young people change the trajectory of their lives. YouthBuild accomplishes that.”

Click here for to read the full press packet!

National #YouthBuildDay

YBN Back-to-School Giveaway

YouthBuild Newark’s (YBN) graduating Class of 2013 will host a bookbag giveaway for students attending the Alexander Street School/Alexander Annex. The giveaway will take place on September 18, 2013 at 43 Alexander Street in Newark, New Jersey during “Back to School” Night from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

As an AmeriCorps program, YBN encourages its students to positively engage with and invest in their communities by performing meaningful service projects. Through these projects, students enhance their learning, become leaders, and develop soft skills that are vital to employment attainment. YBN AmeriCorps members are committed to education and the community. As such, YBN students are excited to invest in the next generation by organizing a giveaway that will encourage excitement for the new school year.

With many young adults entering the YBN program without their high school diploma, this drive offers students an opportunity to support Newark youth at the early stages of their educational journey. “Having our Independent Living Program on Alexander Street as well as having developed units of affordable housing in this area, we are very happy to have an opportunity to continue to positively impact the Alexander Street community,” said YBN Program Director Darrell Price.

To complement YouthBuild Newark’s efforts, the Vailsburg Branch of the Newark Public Library (located on Alexander Street) will be on hand to help students sign up for library cards.

Update: The giveaway was a success! Check out our photos below.

YBN Banner

Trio of KidsYBN Students and StafferYBN Student with Book Bag YBN Students Helping Out Young Lady with Pink Book Bag Young man with pink book bag Young Man with book bag Young Lady with Purple Book Bag

Newark Leadership Academy Hits 89% Graduation Rate!



On June 27, 2013, YBN’s sister school Newark Leadership Academy (NLA), held its 2nd annual graduation at the Paul Robeson Campus Center in Newark, New Jersey. The energy in the room was high as graduates strode across the room to receive their high school diplomas, an achievement that many students had initially not believed possible.

The ceremony marked both the completion of what had been a labor-intensive journey for graduates and the start of a future brightened by the fact that they now possessed the tools they needed to build their lives. Ninety-five percent of NLA’s graduating seniors enrolled in postsecondary education institutions such as Essex County College and four-year colleges, and/or obtained employment.


Brianna Winbush graced the stage as the Academy’s 2012-2013 Valedictorian while Jadzia Cribb earned the title of Salutatorian. In addition to receiving their high school diplomas, students received numerous academic and vocational accolades, and for their embodiment of school values such as leadership and service, cultural awards. Marlon Peterson, Associate Director of the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, delivered the charge to graduates. Having progressed from serving a jail sentence to serving as a leader within a community-based organization, his story is a prime example of how young adults can learn from their past experiences to recreate their lives and support their communities.

With additional seniors having met their graduation requirements in August, NLA graduated a total of 31 of its 35 seniors for the 2012 – 2013 school year – a graduation rate of 89%! The Academy’s increasing effectiveness in providing over-age and under-credited youth with a meaningful educational experience is largely due to its successful collaboration with Newark Public Schools (NPS) and YBN.



Graduate Spotlight Jammal

Jammal, 29


I was ashamed of myself and my life. I have a little brother two years younger than me who completed high school and went to college. A few of my friends had also finished high school and were moving on. I didn’t even have a high school diploma. It was hard to find employment. I didn’t think there was any way to succeed if you were a product of Newark because all of the men in my area were drug dealers and working at supermarkets for $7.50 an hour. 

This is how Jammal, a 2004 YBN graduate, describes his life before discovering YBN.

It was his mother who encouraged Jammal to apply to the program. One day, she saw someone handing out YBN fliers, and wanting her son to do better, brought one home.

When Jammal visited YBN, he was more than a little surprised. “I saw that there were other black men with some type of swagger [confidence] who were also successful.”  Although the program was a challenge – “from beginning to end” says Jammal – having role models like YBN’s Executive Director Robert Clark, and Program Director, Darrell Price, inspired him to finish. “They gave me something to look forward to.”

Since graduating, Jammal has worked to capitalize on all that he’s learned. He currently works as a successful real estate agent and also helps people with special needs, a role he embraced after interning as a teacher at YBN. “When I was at YBN, I helped start a weekend class for people to get extra help for their GED. The teacher suggested that I come back and intern as a teacher. So I did that for a year. And it made me feel comfortable to teach after I left the program.”After working primarily with youth for three years, he now helps adults up to age 45, develop daily living skills and increase their job readiness.

Says Jammal, “I learned that in order for young men to even grasp an understanding of what success is, you definitely need strong male role models.” Noting his persistence and passion for transforming his life and helping those in need, it’s clear that Jammal is someone other young men can look up to.


YBN Takes a Trip to Ghana

YBN Students with Eric Holder


Many YBN students have never ventured beyond their respective communities. With the majority being low-income, busy supporting their families, and focused on achieving their educational and workforce goals, having the opportunity to explore other cultures is often a costly luxury. But on June 28th, YBN students found themselves over 5,000 miles away in Ghana – through a live video exchange at O'ia-da International’s Akoma Ntoso Cultural Center.


YBN students and students enrolled at a private school in Cape Coast – one of Ghana’s most historical cities – made small work of painting a picture of their everyday lives. Each group talked about where they shop, eat, and have fun, and the similarities and differences in their individual cultures. YBN students were also treated to a song and dance performance that allowed them to witness, firsthand, the vibrancy of Ghanaian culture.

Ghanaian Performance

In their reflections, YBN students shared their new perspectives on African culture. Anthony Green wrote, “It gave me an eye opening look at…how we judge one another by what we see on television, and what we hear. But it pretty much seems like we live…alike in many ways, but in different countries. They pretty much have the same kind of life styles we live, but they really move strong as a community and they really value what they have.” Hadiyyah Muse expressed a similar sentiment. “I learned a lot about the people in Ghana. I will never think differently about another country just because somebody says it.” YBN students got the chance to cross cultural borders – without ever having to leave “Brick City.”


O'ia-da International, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that utilizes state of the art videoconferencing technology to connect students with students in Africa.

Students Accepted to Summer Youth Ambassador Program


YBN students Khaleemah and Shaheed have been accepted to Newark Central Ward's  Summer Youth Ambassador Program, an initiative that focuses on civic engagement, community involvement and corporate exposure for young adults.


In addition to being introduced to various areas of government and the corporate sector, Youth Ambassadors will contribute to several community service activities throughout the Central Ward. The free program will take place from July 9 – August 27, 2013 and will include events such as community BBQs, Adopt-A-Lot, community clean ups, canvassing, Senior Citizen Week, Feed the Homeless day, and government, corporate and educational panels. To apply, students were required to submit an application as well as a teacher recommendation. Khaleemah and Shaheed are excited for what is sure to be an eventful and educational summer.

Local Resident Begins 10-Month Journey of Service


VINTON, Iowa – John Warren, originally from Newark, New Jersey, has joined 220 other individuals from across the United States in Vinton, Iowa, where they are devoting the next 10 months to giving back to communities in the North Central Region of the United States.

Warren has been serving with the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), an AmeriCorps program, since Feb. 5, 2013. Since arriving, Warren and the other members have gone through an intensive training to prepare them for serving in communities. This four-week training period emphasized teamwork, leadership development, communication, diversity and service learning. During this time, members were also assigned to one of 20 teams. Each team serves on average on four-seven projects during their term of service with NCCC.

On March 8, 2013, NCCC members completed their training and were officially inducted into the AmeriCorps NCCC program with the ceremony being held at Vinton-Shellsburg High School Auditorium. On Monday, March 11, NCCC teams left Vinton to begin serving on their first NCCC service project.

Warren and his team are serving with Rydell and Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge in Erskine, Minn. until April 25. On this project, the team is assisting Rydell and Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge with prescribed burning, invasive species removal, biological surveys for water fowl and prairie chickens, trail clearing, and tree planting. In addition, the team is assisting in the installation of four accessible blinds to allow visitors to view the wildlife.

Prior to joining NCCC, Warren graduated from Youthbuild Newark in August 2011. Warren joined NCCC because he believes it will allow him to change many lives.

AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time, residential, national service program in which 1,100 young adults serve nationwide each year. During their 10-month term, NCCC Members – all 18 to 24 years old – work on teams of eight to 12 on projects that address critical needs related to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development. Members mentor students, construct and rehabilitate low-income housing, respond to natural disasters, clean up streams, help communities develop emergency plans, and address countless other local needs. The North Central Region campus in Vinton, Iowa is one of five regional campuses in the United States and serves Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The other campuses are located in Perry Point, Md.; Sacramento, Calif.; Vicksburg, Miss.; and Denver, Colo.

In exchange for their service, NCCC Members receive $5,550 to help pay for college, or to pay back existing student loans. Other benefits include a small living stipend, room and board, leadership development, increased self-confidence, and the knowledge that, through active citizenship, people can indeed make a difference. AmeriCorps NCCC is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Corporation improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. For more information about AmeriCorps NCCC, visit the website at

Councilman Sharif Gets to Know YBN; Talks About Service Partnership

YBN frequently invites community leaders to meet with students to help expand students’ understanding of leadership and the unique role youth play in revitalizing their communities. So, when Central Ward Councilman Darrin Sharif agreed to personally facilitate a Community Ambassador training for students, students were excited.

On Thursday, April 4, 2013, Councilman Sharif joined YBN students and staff at the Newark YMWCA to discuss partnering around community-building. Michael Bright, the Newark YMWCA’s President and CEO, offered welcoming remarks, emphasizing the importance of volunteerism as a way to stand out in a competitive workplace. For several years, YBN and the YMWCA have collaborated around service. Most recently, students helped construct a lounge for YMWCA staff.

Photo 1

Select YBN students – Aaron McQuiller, Chareese Rice, and Khaleemah Porter – led an introduction to the YBN program. They began by facilitating “Morning Circle,” a process during which those who are present express how they are feeling, and the recitation of YBN’s philosophy. After a brief introduction to the YBN model – including its five (5) program components, Aaron, Chareese, and Khaleemah each shared their personal reasons for applying to the YouthBuild program. While each student had a different narrative, all three students shared a similar commitment to using YBN as a vehicle to improve their lives. Aaron stated, “YB helped me to build. I feel like I have a goal for myself. I’m trying to claim that.”

Photo 2

With this, Councilman Sharif was compelled to share his personal journey as well. Students listened attentively as he described how he had progressed from dropping out of college to eventually graduating from Rutgers University Newark magna cum laude and becoming a public servant. At the end of his story, the Councilman emphasized the importance of accountability, whether it is to one’s self, family, and/or the community.

Councilman Sharif subsequently conducted a presentation on the Adopt-A-Lot program, an initiative in which residents, local agencies and non-profit organizations transform vacant lots into community gardens. Noting YBN’s role in revitalizing communities, Councilman Sharif was very interested in having YBN students join the effort. Noting the dwindling supply of resources, the Councilman stressed the importance of partnerships and service as a way to address numerous community needs.

Photo 3

Yet, beyond partnering for community building, Councilman Sharif expressed his interest in exposing students to as many opportunities as he could, including, potentially transporting students on a tour of Princeton University. “We’re going to have a long relationship and do a lot of things,” he stated.

At the close of the Councilman’s presentation, students posed questions about various city issues including teacher tenure and its impact on student success, support services for pregnant teens who desire to stay in school, recreational options for youth in light of community resources (e.g. the Littleton Avenue Boys and Girls Club) fading, and solicited guidance on future goals. Councilman Sharif offered thorough, thought-provoking responses and a healthy dose of well-placed humor. When he concluded by expressing his hope that students would partner with him, students collectively offered an enthusiastic, “Yes!”

Students then presented the Councilman with a hardhat covered by decals that represent students’ achievement of benchmarks in the vocational component of the program.

Photo 4


Students were also personally invited to attend the State of the Central Ward Address on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at Science Park High School, with special seating and transportation provided to and from the site.

YBN foresees a lengthy and mutually-fulfilling relationship with Councilman Sharif and looks forward to cultivating a partnership.

Photo 5

To learn more about Councilman Sharif, click here.

To learn more about the Adopt-A-Lot program, click here.

YBN Partners with Trust for Public Land

YouthBuild Newark selected to install “green” recycling containers at local Newark parks

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY —The Trust for Public Land, Garnier—a subsidiary of L’Oreal, USA—and the City of Newark’s Office of Sustainability and its Department of Neighborhood Services announced today the installation of fifty-four community recycling containers at Nat Turner, Jesse Allen, and Mildred Helms parks.

Installation of the recycling containers was undertaken by YouthBuild Newark, Inc., a local non-profit that helps youth ages 16 to 24 complete their secondary educational goals and learn construction skills with a focus on green building techniques.

“The Trust for Public Land is proud of its ability to bring diverse partners together to create value-added outdoor experiences for the residents of Newark, said Scott Dvorak, Director of The Trust for Public Land’s Parks for People-Newark program. “These fifty-four new Garnier recycling containers installed by YouthBuild Newark are an extension of the work we’ve been doing on the ground building parks and playgrounds over the last eighteen years, in partnership with the City of Newark. We are truly glad to have been able to add even more value to what we are doing in Newark through this partnership with Garnier.”

In 2012, Garnier partnered with The Trust for Public Land, the nation’s leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people, and the City of Newark to install fifty-four recycling containers in three Newark parks. The containers were created from beauty packaging waste collected through L’Oreal, USA’s Personal Care and Beauty Brigade recycling partnership with TerraCycle. Garnier’s Brigade empowers consumers to collect and send in non-recyclable waste to be turned into innovative new products. Garnier's goal is to eliminate beauty waste from landfills.

“We are so pleased that through our partnership with TerraCycle, we were able to collect and recycle used beauty packaging to create recycling containers for The Trust for Public Land and Newark parks. Caring for the environment is important to us at Garnier. Making Newark more beautiful by encouraging recycling activism and greener behavior is just one of the ways we can help make a difference,” said Lauren Consiglio, Garnier’s Assistant Vice President of Marketing.

During the first two weeks of March, YouthBuild Newark members picked up the completed containers from the City of Newark’s warehouse, poured concrete pads where needed to anchor them, then began installation.

“Building lives and building community has been YouthBuild Newark’s commitment over the past 10 years,” shared SanDonna Jones, the agency’s deputy executive director. “Enjoyable recreational and green space for Newark residents enhances the overall quality of life, so YBN staff and students were eager to participate in this endeavor and have a tangible impact on improving an important city resource – its parks.”

“This is a wonderful demonstration that, with the right partnerships, we can reclaim the value in our 'waste' materials and put them to use for the benefit of the community,” said Stephanie Greenwood, the City of Newark’s Sustainability director. “The Newark Sustainability Office is proud to support this project as a powerful win-win-win: fewer bottles going to landfill or incineration; more sustainable manufacturing work; and a chance for our youth to develop their talents by creating a community amenity."

The recycling bins are the latest component of a major park renovation partnership between The Trust for Public Land and the City of Newark. In October 2012, Newark Mayor Cory Booker opened The Trust for Public Land’s completed phase II of a multi-phased vision for the redevelopment of Jesse Allen Park, one of the locations of the new Garnier recycling centers.

“Working together, The Trust for Public Land, Garnier, TerraCycle, Newark’s Office of Sustainability, and YouthBuild Newark joined forces to help beautify Newark, improve the environment, and enhance the park experience for local residents ” said Anthony Cucchi, The Trust for Public Land’s New Jersey State Director. “Through this partnership we are excited to be helping Newark become more sustainable and further improve these neighborhood parks for the benefit of the communities they serve.”

About The Trust for Public Land
Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. Learn more at

About Garnier
Garnier believes in beauty through nature. Scientifically developed with selected natural ingredients, our products help you look healthy and feel better every day. Established in Paris at the turn of the 20th century, Garnier is the #1 beauty brand in France and a trusted leader throughout Europe, Asia, Canada and Mexico. Dedicated to providing a new vision for health with high quality beauty products, Garnier also provides a wide range of hair care, skin care and sun care products throughout the world. For more information, visit here.

Scott Dvorak, The Trust for Public Land,, 973-718-7338, X. 103
Greta Fox, Garnier, 646-658-5468,
Stephanie Greenwood, City of Newark, 973-733-8916,
SanDonna B. Jones, YouthBuild Newark, 973 297-0592,
Stacey Krauss, Terracycle, 609-393-4252, ext. 3704,


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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.