YouthBuild shows young minds path to success

Published 8:42 am Monday, June 22, 2015

“There’s nothing in the world that breeds success like success.” – Bob Ross

Jamie May, director of post secondary education at YouthBuild Bogalusa for more than five years, believes this to be true. YouthBuild guides young people in their journey of life. The support and encouragement students receive through the various programs at the center help many take the positive steps needed to build a brighter future.

Located at 1242 Austin St. in Bogalusa, the center has seen successful transitions of many of their 16- to 24-year-old students. The goal is for students to receive the support they need to further their education and in turn reach out to others in the community.

Moving from the position of receiving help to helping others brings great joy and personal satisfaction. When a student completes 450 community service hours through AmeriCorps they earn an educational monetary award, which can be used toward fees accrued at an institute of higher learning. They have seven years to actually use the allotted funds giving them plenty of time to decide what area of study they would like to pursue.

Students at YouthBuild serve the community in a variety of ways, from mentoring other students to working with Habitat for Humanity. In fact, 100 percent of students attending receive their industry-based certification for working with Habitat. Additionally, 68 percent of students are successful is completing their HiSET, formerly known as GED while 50 percent go on for post secondary training.

Prospective students who may feel education is no longer an option for them because of financial burdens can actually earn a salary while pursuing their HiSET. This enables students to focus on their studies instead of worrying about how to make ends meet.

According to Dannielle Keys, executive director, “This program is a pillar in our community that helps young people build a pathway to success. We could not do what we do without the wonderful leadership of Dr. William Wainwright of Northshore Technical Community College. Our program is actually under the umbrella of this institution.”

One shining example of a student who has achieved her personal goals and choses to give back to others is found in Victoria Peterson. Upon completion of her HiSET she began mentoring students in hopes they would also find their way to a more positive future.

“Victoria is an outstanding student and a great representative for our program. She is currently enrolled in Northshore Technical Community College and plans to pursue a career in Early Childhood Development. I’m so proud of her accomplishments,” said May.

Peterson stated, “YouthBuild has provided me with many skills and opportunities. I have had the chance to travel around the country to other YouthBuild programs, encouraging students to pursue an affordable education through the many avenues available. YouthBuild has helped me to prepare for my future, and I’m excited about my career opportunities.”

For additional information about YouthBuild call 985-732-6878.