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Stories - YouthBuild

Thursday, November 30, 2017
For John, a usual trip to the local library took a turn from the ordinary when he stumbled across a flier that would change his life. An advertisement for YouthBuild Long Island caught his eye as he made his way to an English group conversation – a staple in his routine since he had dedicated himself to becoming fluent in English.   At the time, John was determined to go to college, but first had to get his high school equivalency diploma. After taking the time to learn more about YouthBuild and its mission to assist young men and women with career preparation – including the attainment of... Read more
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Meet Ashley, a resident of Wyandanch, 2015 graduate of United Way of Long Island’s YouthBuild Long Island, and current union-trained carpenter. Although she is living a successful and self-reliant life today, her life has not always been so bright. At the age of 14, Ashley dropped out of school and soon after ended up in a juvenile facility for troubled teens. A series of bad choices led to her spending three years and eight months in detention. While in the system, she often thought of how her life could be better, and how to make those dreams a reality. She knew that she was better than the... Read more
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
If you first met Gabe today, you would know him as a smart and successful man. He is a husband, a father, and currently part of the NorthEastern Apprenticeship & Training Program as an IBEW Local 1049 lineman. What you wouldn't know was what he's had to overcome to get to where he is now. Here is YouthBuild graduate Gabe's story in his own words: "I grew up in Brentwood, Long Island and lived there for most of my childhood life.  When I was 10 years old, my brother’s life was taken by a gang - He was only 19 years old when he died and today he would have been 38.  He was my closest... Read more
Thursday, March 9, 2017
My name is Freddie and I am a proud 2013 graduate from United Way of Long Island’s YouthBuild program.  I was born and raised in Washington Heights, my parents are from the Dominican Republic and my home life was always chaotic - especially with three older siblings. I had the privilege of attending Brandeis High School on the Upper West Side but did not recognize the advantage this would have given me in life. After only five months, I was kicked out and told that someone who wanted the opportunity to learn would better fill my spot.  At the time I did not mind. I was lazy, never wanted to... Read more
Monday, August 8, 2016
  Anthony Royster is on top of the world – literally as an iron worker stationed on the Verrazano Bridge, and figuratively with a happy and loving family at home – but it wasn’t always this way. Anthony grew up in a single-parent home in Wyandanch, with an older sister and two younger brothers where physical and mental abuse was commonplace. Without positive role models in his life, he searched for an escape, but was led down the wrong path where he was later arrested and incarcerated. Upon his release, Anthony realized he needed to turn his life around. He had heard about United Way of Long... Read more
Friday, April 29, 2016
Meet Kya Kearney, one of 50 students who decided to take hold of his future by enrolling in United Way of Long Island’s YouthBuild program – class of 2016. This life-changing opportunity offers youth who are facing challenges a chance to rebuild their lives with hope and promise for a brighter tomorrow. Kya traveled a long road before finding his seat in the YouthBuild classroom. Upon discovering that his father had kidney disease, Kya’s family decided to travel in a small RV, moving from trailer parks to campsites, in search of a medical cure. The struggles mounted when the RV became... Read more
Thursday, March 10, 2016
  When Ivan Rodriguez’s family fell on hard times, he dropped out of high school to support them by working. But when he could not find a job, he turned to desperate measures to make ends meet. He was arrested and incarcerated, and immediately decided to turn his life around. Ivan enrolled in United Way of Long Island’s YouthBuild program and has since taken the Long Island community by storm. Acting as a true ambassador of the program, Ivan has presented YouthBuild to people across the community, invoking true emotion—both laughter and tears—to demonstrate the importance of the program and... Read more