YouthBuild Director's Corner - March 2021

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Congratulations COHORT 1. The gentlemen who started their Workforce development journey July13, 2020 have completed Phase 1 of their training. YouthBuild student consist of young adults whose age ranges from 16 - 24. These young men from COHORT 1 were not sure of what they wanted to do with their lives, but knew they needed to do something to prepare themselves professionally. At the start, it was a little rocky with virtual learning, community outreach, and learning a new skill in preparation for the Workforce. The students quickly learn the concept of teamwork and the power of giving. It did not take long for COHORT 1 to work together as a team and the embodiment of commitment resulted in nine young men getting credentialed in Carpentry, Plumbing, HVAC, Electrical, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and getting certified with Red Cross.

The young men negotiated through numerous personal, educational, and emotional challenges. These challenges consisted of moving, becoming a parent, court dates, mental health challenges, losing family members and friends; however, each student bonded and supported each other and was able to gain skills that will last a lifetime. Along with gaining life skills, the students in COHORT 1 also gained valuable friendships, forming a forever brotherhood with each other. They all did a great job at motivating and encouraging each other throughout the program.

Congratulations to the following students:

Antonio Dix, Jalen Dove, Jaylen Rodriquez, Daryl Thomas, Damon Washington, D’Juan Washington, Yavin Johnson, Karee Boswell, and Jaynard Carter.

Special Recognition to the following:

Ruby Award: Jaylen Rodriguez
Leadership Award: Daryl Thomas
Peer Excellence Award: Damon Washington and Yavin Johnson


COHORT 2. Spring is in the air and so are new levels of professional development of COHORT 2. During the past several months, COHORT 2 learned the basic fundamentals of NCCER Core and OSHA Safety requirements, Carpentry, and plumbing. Students received hands on instruction and examples of how to build different structures. The pictured associated with COHORT 2 depicts a closet designed by students which has basic framework design as outlined on the white board, electrical connections and prepared for drywall and the opening for a door.

Once carpentry and plumbing are completed, students prepare for their third trade (HVAC). They are also introduced to a new instructor who is level 4 trained in both HVAC and Electrical. The level of expertise and experience from both Construction Manager and Construction trainer in the program will allow students to learn all the components of the HVAC equipment in YouthBuild’s fully equipped HVAC room, complete with indoor and outdoor units. Similar to COHORT 1, by the end of their training, students will be able to fire one of the units up, provide maintenance, and perform any troubleshooting in the event the HVAC systems are non operational. It’s so exciting to see students using what they learn and display confidence in their abilities. After HVAC which will be 5 – 6 weeks of training, the students will begin electrical and get their training evaluated during a Capstone project scheduled for June 14 – 17.


COHORT 3. These students began their Workforce development training on March 8, 2021. The focus of their Workforce development training will be GED exam preparation for some students as well leadership development, resume building classes, Digital Literacy fundamental, and career development project.

The students also worked with Heart of Giving at Four Oaks Day Support Center by loading and unloading vehicles with furniture and other items for families in need throughout the Hampton Roads area.

Welcome COHORT 3: Michael Diaz, Ramona Tunsdall, Marques Thomas, Domnick Davis, Javont Berro, Elyzah Addison, Raziel Boyd, Clarence Ferebee, Tyreek Pittman, Namari Boone.

Four Oaks Day Service Center. Quincy White, Executive Program Director continues to support the Newport News residents with innovative ideas and a support network which is transcending Human Services. The Four Oaks Day Service Center is a beacon of hope and opportunity in the heart of Newport News that helps people transition out of homelessness into employment, stable housing and independence.


Four Oaks Day Service Center is a one-stop service and assistance center where men, women and families experiencing homelessness receive supports and are connected to comprehensive community services under one roof, all thanks to on-site partners. A joint venture between the City of Newport News and Volunteers of America Chesapeake, the Four Oaks Day Service Center offers workforce development supports, housing assistance, and comprehensive case management services that give people the opportunity to transform their lives.

The Support Team at Four Oaks Day Service Center have established a computer lounge for the patrons which allows for job skill and workforce development classes. The computer lab assists the patron(s )with computer literacy onsite as the Center partners with numerous organizations to assist with patron transitional services.

Four Oaks and YouthBuild have collaborated to provide services and WorkForce development for several homeless young adults within the city of Newport News. This level of support has provided one member from YouthBuild to get offered an interview with the city of Newport News. The Center works in conjunction with Department of Human Services counseling agencies as well YouthBuild’s Case Manager to provide services for young adults in need of these services. The collaboration provided wrap around services in preparation of YouthBuild students to enter the WorkForce.

Lastly, though not all inclusive of the tremendous work Four Oaks continues to provide residents, YouthBuild, Four Oaks, and Urban League of Hampton Roads have partnered to provide residential assistance to various members of both YouthBuild students and Four Oaks patrons. The assistance provided by these partners resulted with two young adults who were classified as homeless with their own residence and moved in at the beginning of March!


Heart of Giving. Aimee Jones, Founder/President continues to provide for the residents of Newport News. The mission of this Nonprofit organization is to encourage the Community to come together in Unity as to be a blessing to one another through the unconditional act of "Giving". The Heart of Giving donated to one our YouthBuild student a vehicle free of cost.

Mr. Shaleek Yarborough, pictured with Ms. Aimee Jones stated, “I am so blessed to receive this vehicle. I have never had anyone show me this type of love before, thank you very much”.

Please follow Heart of Giving and see their amazing team of volunteers who are committed to help others, community partners, and bridging the gap allows the organization to meet the needs of the community.

Upcoming Events

  • Peninsula Chamber of Coffee – May 11
  • COHORT 2 Capstone – June 14 - 17
  • COHORT 2 Capstone Ceremony – June 18, 2021
  • Career Week/Industry Week – July 2021 (date TBD)

If this sounds like the program for you schedule a Facility tour and see the tremendous work YouthBuild and Four Oaks Day Service Center is providing the community.

Adios Familia / Goodbye Family:

“El éxito es producto de nuestra capacidad de tener propósito y determinación”

“Success is byproduct of our ability to have purpose and determination”

Blessings to all….

Daniel S. Carrera
Program Director
Newport News YouthBuild
(757) 975-5204 (office)
(540) 514-1207 (cell)