YouthBuild Director's Corner - August 2021

August 21, 2021

Newport News YouthBuild Program Staff

Say hello to our Newport News YouthBuild staff (from left to right): Ardelia Davis (PREP/GED Instructor), Tynisha Richardson (Case Manager), Dan Carrera (Program Director), Makhinohn Walden (Program Specialist), Aaron Vaughan (Transportation Specialist), and Kenneth O’Neil (Construction Manager). Not pictured are Drusilla Pair (PREP/YouthBuild Lead), Dennis White (PREP/ Professional Development).

Emerging Leaders KeyMakers

Congratulations to Makhinohn Walden for being selected to join Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas (VOACC) Emerging Leaders KeyMakers program! This is a one-year program that exposes participants to practical, applicable tools and concepts that help increase self-awareness, foster leadership skills, build stronger teams and strengthen our organization.

COHORT 2 Completion Ceremony

The following students completed their 6-month YouthBuild program: Shaleek Yarborough, Ashon Livingson, Kenneth Jones, Kyle Douglas, and Naajee Walton. Kyle Douglas and Naajee Walton were selected for internship positions with Centennial Contracting Enterprise. Kenneth Jones was recently hired for a full-time position by Holiday Inn to work in their landscaping department. Kenneth has also applied to the Arc Welding pilot program, which runs for 4 months and will prepare him to work in the Newport News Shipyard.

Shaleek Yarborough is working with our Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) partner. YouthBuild partners with WIOA to provide Workforce Experience (WEX) which is designed to help students access employment, education, training and support services to succeed in the labor market, as well as match them with employers.

Four Oaks Beauty Salon Project

Students from COHORT 3 and 4 have worked tirelessly on GED completion, construction training, and volunteering within the community. Over the last several weeks, both COHORTs were involved in renovating the Beauty Salon at the Four Oaks Day Service Center. Quincy White, the Center's Executive Program Director, along with several members from the City of Newport News needed a place for women experiencing homelessness to get their hair cut and styled this fall.

YouthBuild partnered with the Rotary Club and Heart of Giving to build the salon at the Center, which already offers an onsite barber shop for men. The salon and barber shop are staffed by volunteers from local salons and barber shops. Mr. White is in the process of developing a partnership with a local barber school, and in the future, he’ll look to partner with beauty schools. These photos depict the beauty salon construction project from start to finish. Watch 13News Now's coverage of the project below!

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Heart of Giving Community Feeding

The Heart of Giving is a team of volunteers committed to supporting the Hampton Roads community. The organization helps to bridge gaps for the community's most vulnerable by working with an extended network of nonprofit and government agencies to provide free resources to individuals and families in need. Amy Jones, Founder & President, hosted a community feeding for our YouthBuild students and the homeless patrons at the Four Oaks Day Service Center.

Ms. Jones also has a daily lunch program for YouthBuild and stocks our food pantry so students have snacks when they come to training. Lastly, Ms. Jones furnished the apartment of a YouthBuild student and has been working with the student to ensure they have groceries for the next month.

Shipbuilders Day Job Fair

August 13th was Shipbuilders Day in Virginia and when the City of Newport News celebrates their maritime heritage as a national leader in the shipbuilding industry. To honor the contributions of maritime employers and support their workforce development needs, the City, Newport News Shipbuilding and other partners hosted a job fair at the Brooks Crossing Innovation & Opportunity Center. To prepare for the job fair, YouthBuild students attended interview and resume writing classes led by our PREP education partner.

At the job fair, students assisted with setup and had the opportunity to speak with local employers, receive interviewing tips from hiring agencies, and submit their resumes. This experience proved invaluable because as one student stated, “we cannot get this type of exposure in the classroom and now I know YouthBuild is for real”. The job fair was an excellent opportunity for students to explore various career options and build on their self-confidence as they prepare to enter the workforce.

Quiero dar las gracias a todos los que han apoyado este programa y a sus estudiantes. El trabajo que hacemos marcará una diferencia en la vida de nuestros estudiantes. Que Dios continúe bendiciendo a todos con bendiciones abundantes.

I want to thank everyone who has supported this program and its students. The work we do makes a difference in our student's lives. May God continue to bless everyone with bountiful blessings.


Commitment + Opportunity = Success

Blessings to all,
Daniel S. Carrera
Program Director of Newport News YouthBuild