YouthBuild Austin (AYW-YB) offers young adults (ages 16-24) the opportunity to complete their education by earning a high school diploma or GED. Students also simultaneously receive career training and certification in computer technology, healthcare, or the green jobs sector. In addition, YouthBuild provides customized support services, including: counseling, basic needs assistance (such as shelter, toiletries, child care, health care, etc.), graduate support, college readiness, and a re-entry track for young people exiting the criminal justice system.
AYW-YB students enter the program disconnected from education and employment; most are low-income and face a variety of barriers to reconnecting, including homelessness, pregnancy or single-parenting, involvement in the criminal justice or foster care systems, bullied LGBTQ youth, and young people with mental health issues and/or learning disabilities. AYW-YB case managers and teachers provide wrap-around services in addition to education and career training to ensure that students have the support needed to achieve their goals.
American YouthWorks also hosts a program called Texas Conservation Corps (TxCC). Each year TxCC engages more than 100 diverse young people in conservation and disaster relief efforts. Members primarily work within state and national parks, as well as on protected lands. Last year, TxCC members served on 126 conservation projects across the Southwest.
TxCC's Emergency Response Team serves during the initial phases of disaster relief. Last year, TxCC offered direct assistance to 685 survivors, provided mitigation services to 1,431 individuals, and leveraged the help of 10,731 volunteers at the disaster sites.
We are so proud of our young people who consistently strive to better themselves and their community!
American YouthWorks members have ….
*Received more than $2,962,020 in education awards
*Logged more than 1,035,462 hour of service to others
In an average year Texas Conservation Corps…
*Provides emergency assistance to more than 2,000 survivors of natural disaster
*Improves 949+ acres of public land, builds or maintains 284+ miles of trail, and plants 14,314+ trees
*Serves on 125+ conservation projects across the Southwest
Since its inception, YouthBuild Austin participants have helped low-income families in Austin by...
*Building more than 100 energy-efficient, affordable homes, primarily on the East Side
*Repairing or weatherizing more than 200 homes
*Refurbishing and repairing more than 500 computers for low-income students and families
Did You Know?
*Since its inception, YouthBuild Austin has provided education, career training, and wrap-around support services to more than 2,000 students.
*The minimum wage in Texas is $7.25. The average wage earned by successful YouthBuild students is $11.50 per hour.
Your gift will help provide education, intensive job skills training, and impactful service to our community. Typical expenses include salaries for teachers, trainers, and counselors, tools, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the job site, transportation for participants, building materials, classroom supplies, and much more!
"I would like to start off this story by introducing myself. My name is Janice. I was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. I came to Austin, Texas in 2005 after a Hurricane Katrina. I was only 14 years old at the time and this was my very first time coming to a new city, leaving my hometown that we called 'The Boot.'
In Austin, I was targeted by middle school girls for being a 'tom boy.' The school placed me into a program for students that were refugees from New Orleans. This program made us all stand out and we were targeted even more. I started getting into fights, I was even stabbed. This caused me so much damage to the point my grades started to drop. I stuck through it and it took many years to finish all my credits in school, but I could never pass the TAKS test. I tried so many times, but eventually gave up. I got in some legal trouble, because of a so called 'friend,' but it made me realize something. That evening I came and sat down, looked at my daughter, and at that moment I told myself I'll do better by her because she needs someone to protect her and guide her through life.
The next day my friend asked me to come to American YouthWorks with her so she could join the program. I found out that I could join too and work on my TAKS even though I was over 21. American YouthWorks took me in with open arms and opened my mind, not to mention so many doors because of all my accomplishments since I've been here.
I have learned so much in the Media Corps Program. Mr. Matt is brilliant teacher, so down to earth, and the other teacher, Ms. Kim, is so sweet. They help students such as myself learn computers skills. These computers are fixed up and donated to families in need. The step that excited me the most, I must admit, was being able to donate the computers back into my community. This made me proud of my work, knowing it would be useful and helping someone else, giving them an opportunity too. In Media Corps, we volunteer as much as possible. This way my classmates and I have the opportunity to have hands on experience to help people in our community and elsewhere in Austin.
My journey was not easy and I kept taking the TAKS test and failing by a few points. My childcare was denied four times for no reason while in the program. I felt like giving up at times, but YouthBuild would not give up on me. This school, I now call home. It is a family that looks for courage and dedication in people, to help them see their potential and give them will power to wake up every day, to be on time, and try your hardest. They saw something in me that with their help, I started to see too.
This school helped me clear my background, get childcare back, gave me training, and amongst other things, they got me ready to be successful. I am now able to see a difference in my life and in my children's lives. Finally, in June I received my diploma and was able to walk the stage in my cap and gown. I participated in the Community Health Worker's Certification Program and now I am enrolled in Austin Community College's CNA (Certified Nurse Aide) Program for January 2017.
I have not one but two education awards to use toward college. This program helped me through it all. I was given resources I didn't know existed. They cheered me on throughout my journey and still to this day, because like we say here, 'Once YouthBuild, always YouthBuild!!'"