Yavin Johnson

Until recently, Yavin Johnson would have told you he felt most comfortable on the football field as a linebacker and defensive end for Menchville H.S. in Newport News, VA. But now with high school and his football career behind him, he says he feels in control of his future thanks to you and Newport News YouthBuild.

Yavin, 19, is one of the first students to join our YouthBuild program, a workforce development program designed to help “at-risk” young people between the ages of 16-24 gain the soft skills and hands-on training and certifications they need to start successful careers in electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and carpentry, and more.

Since joining the program in July 2020, Yavin has learned four trades — carpentry; electrical; plumbing; and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). He’s also earned three certifications — one for CPR and one each from the National Center for Construction Education and Research and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

YouthBuild has proven successful since its start a year ago thanks to our partnership with the City of Newport News, funding through the U.S. Department of Labor, and donors like you. Thanks to this support, each student in good standing receives a monthly stipend of $1,600, which has been helpful for Yavin since the birth of his daughter Anaaise four months ago.

“It was a great experience and I’d recommend it to anybody who may not have plans for what to do. I’m learning trades so I can be successful in life and have something to fall back on.”

After the program, Yavin plans to stay in Newport News where his newfound skills are greatly needed.

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