YOUTHBUILD BOSTON ASKS STATE LEGISLATORS TO INCREASE SUPPORT FOR PROGRAM
Boston, MA, February 27, 2012—Over 300 young people from 10 YouthBuild programs across the Commonwealth convened at the State House yesterday for the 16th Annual MA YouthBuild Advocacy Day. Guest speakers and legislators were in attendance to celebrate the huge impact that the YouthBuild program has had on the lives of young people, the positive contributions the young people have made and will continue to make in their communities. YouthBuild Boston students met with their legislators to discuss the positive effects that YouthBuild Boston has had on them, the need for additional state support for the YouthBuild program.
House Majority Whip Byron Rushing welcomed YouthBuild students to the State House and encouraged them to advocate for their program.
“This is your house, your center of government and I encourage you to be active participants in your state government. It is your right and your responsibility. Speak to your elected officials about what is important in your life, tell them how important YouthBuild is for you and your community”.
YouthBuild Boston Executive Director Ken Smith said that the day was a tremendous opportunity for students to learn firsthand about government and meet their legislators.
“MA YouthBuild Advocacy Day allows students to realize that their legislators are real people who care about supporting their education and growth,” said Smith.
State Representative Gloria Fox spoke to YouthBuild students, telling them how much their perseverance and hard work with YouthBuild meant to her.
Juan Ortiz, YouthBuild Boston student, shared his experiences in the program with other YouthBuilders.
“Before I came to YouthBuild Boston I was in a crossroads. I didn’t know what to do in life… I was looking on getting locked up. But since I’ve been at YouthBuild Boston, it’s been nothing but progress. The program has given me skills and I have obtained my GED. I plan on finishing YouthBuild Boston so I can join the Carpenter’s Union.”
“It’s a joy, a privilege and a blessing to be with my YouthBuild family once again,” said Fox. “I thank God for each and every one of you.”
YouthBuild Boston students met with State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, and presented her with a certificate in appreciation of the support she has shown to YouthBuild Boston.
“When I’m out in the district and I see the work that you and your colleagues at YouthBuild Boston are doing, that’s the greatest gift that I could ask for!” she said.
Currently, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provides $1.3 million to Massachusetts YouthBuild sites. Massachusetts is among the national leaders in the number of YouthBuild programs serving youth in our state. Today participants encouraged increased funding of $2,770,000 (the funding level prior to FMAP vetoes) for the YouthBuild appropriation in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education budget line item 7061-9626).
About YouthBuild Boston
YouthBuild Boston improves opportunities for underserved urban youth by teaching them academic and vocational skills to support themselves so they can bring about positive, lasting change in their communities. Programs focus on GED preparation and "green" practices in construction, architecture, design, and landscaping. For more information, please visit www.youthbuildboston.org.