YouthBuild has been a mentoring and curriculum program at Lewis and Clark Community College since 2009.
In addition to the YouthBuild grant, the Building Futures program also receives an AmeriCorps grant and an Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) grant, said Sabrina Davis, the director of the Building Futures program at L&C since 2014.
“AmeriCorps is an opportunity for our Youth to use the skills they are learning in the classroom, and during construction training, to do community service projects,” Davis said. “The OJJDP Mentor grants have given us the opportunity to bring in mentors to help build relationships and assist the young people while they pursue their educations and careers.”
Lewis and Clark’s Building Futures program recently took to the streets of Alton for one of these projects. Students were responsible to identify the repair and beautify private and commercial properties, while helping to rebuild them at no cost to the homeowners. The long-term Central Avenue Beautification Project had more than 15 volunteers and received a $5,000 donation from the Alton and Glen Carbon Lowe’s stores.
“Our students commit to 450 hours of service every year,” Davis said. “Students are building both a sense of self efficacy, leadership, and a vision to see themselves as agents of change for both their communities and their families. The service they have done in the community has helped community members see that people, young people specifically, care about where they live and they want it to be better for everyone, regardless of economic stature.”
YouthBuild’s benefits also play out on a smaller scale. Marlon Jones, a previous YouthBuild student, described how the program changed his life, in a video at www.lc.edu/youthbuild.
“Once I came to YouthBuild it completely changed my way of thinking, put me on the right path for a career instead of chasing these dead end jobs,” Jones said in the video produced by Route 3 Films. “This is more than just a program, it’s family. These people see you’re going through tough times. They’ll be here with you and try to guide you through it. They had me talk to a counselor and it got to a point where they were helping me find doctors for my sick mother. They supported me through everything.”
Those interested in learning more, including how to join the YouthBuild program, can visit www.lc.edu/youthbuild or contact Davis at (618) 468-4150.