For those youth the school system didn’t seem to reach, AmeriCorps Community Services Consortium YouthBuild program may help.
The program is actively recruiting until the end of December, with room for 10 more students.
Adam Grieve, CSC AmeriCorps member and former teacher, said he can see where a youth maybe struggled with reading at an early point, for example.
“I guess there was a breakdown somewhere in the educational process, and they dropped out,” Grieve said. “Our goal is to bring them up to speed.”
YouthBuild can do things other schooling can’t, he said, such as provide extra help and projects on the side.
“Maybe they dropped out because they got frustrated, or developed apathy,” Grieve said. “This is an opportunity to turn things around and take ownership.”
Before joining YouthBuild, Mark Tuttle, 19, said he was lazy.
“All I did was hang out with my friends, play video games, stuff like that,” he said.
A friend of his was a part of YouthBuild, and Tuttle joined to “better (his) life.”
His experience has been good. Tuttle enjoys working with his hands and the instructors are “better than any teacher I’ve ever had.”
YouthBuild offers students a chance to earn their GED, earn AmeriCorps grants for college, learn the construction trade, contribute to their community and more.
Tony Frazier, construction trainer, oversees four Habitat for Humanity projects YouthBuild is working on.
“It gives them a chance to really learn some trade skills, actually working on a home, learn what to do, how to do it,” he said.
Even should youth not decide to start a career in construction, in which pay starts at about $10 an hour, they may be homeowners.
The skills they learn in construction will come in handy.
“Knowing about house work helps,” Tuttle said. “I won’t have to hire other people.”
YouthBuild teaches other life skills as well.
With a low ratio of staff to students, Frazier said staff members are more able to mentor students.
“It’s really fun to teach them things that will make an impact on how they do life,” Frazier said. “It’s fun to learn to work together, get along.”
Program Coordinator Lassette Doherty said youth learn interview and etiquette skills as well.
“It’s sometimes basic stuff, but they maybe haven’t had that opportunity,” Doherty said.
YouthBuild teens have made a positive impact in the community, said Devin Klarer, YouthBuild project instructor and crew leader.
“We just helped make skate ramps for the Lebanon Skate Park,” Klarer said. “We built temporary skate ramps made of wood until they (the Lebanon Skate Park committee) have the money for more permanent ramps.”
YouthBuild is all-around good for the community, Klarer added.
“We’ve worked on houses around town,” he said. “Everybody seems to know somebody YouthBuild somehow improved their lives. It seems to be contagious.”
Teens who join YouthBuild must be high school dropouts with a low income, which is a necessary requirement for federal grant money. They must be ready to take charge of their lives and change them.
“Nobody makes them be here,” Frazier said. “These are young people ready to make a change in their life.
They come from Lebanon and around Linn County. The program is open to youth ages 16 to 24.
For more information, call YouthBuild at (541) 451-1071.
Get involved with CSC Youthbuild
Even if you are not a dropout, you may get involved in YouthBuild through mentoring.
Mentoring matches participating teens with a community member.
Mentors provide support for youth as they work toward accomplishing educational, career, or personal goals.
CSC YouthBuild is looking for caring, nonjudgmental adults to support youth.
If you are interested in partnering with a youth on a life-changing journey, contact Adam Grieve at (541) 451-1071.
Applications are available at 380 Market St., Lebanon.
Requirements: At least 21 years old, satisfactory employment history, successfully complete application process, complete four hours of training prior to being matched, commit to meeting with mentee four hours a month for 15 months.
Application process: Application, in-person interview, references, state and federal background check.