The morning of Tuesday, June 24, 2014 was not a typical one in the Main South neighborhood of Worcester as residents awoke to a buzz of energy and excitement in the air. Staff and students from Worcester YouthBuild (WYB), Training Resources of America’s (TRA) corporate office, employees of Saint-Gobain, representatives from Matthew 25, and City officials all gathered at the YouthBuild worksite located at 3 Benefit Terrace.
The Volunteer Service Day was designed to celebrate the partnership between Worcester YouthBuild (operated by TRA), Saint-Gobain, and Matthew 25 with 35 local Saint-Gobain employees joining Worcester YouthBuild students as they continue their substantial gut rehab of a 2-family home that will be rented to low-income families when it is completed this fall.
The day kicked off with breakfast and registration. YB students and SGC volunteers mingled and talked about where they are from and why they were at the event. It was a great chance for everyone to get to know each other. Both Worcester YouthBuild students and Saint-Gobain-CertainTeed employees benefited from their interactions. As YouthBuild student Glen Waller said, “I had a chance to speak with a representative from the HR Department at Saint-Gobain today. I told her who I was and that I wanted to work for Saint-Gobain after YouthBuild.”
After breakfast, students and volunteers gathered around for the ceremonial remarks and pep rally. Mike Quigley, TRA-Worcester YouthBuild Program Director, served as emcee, followed by remarks from TRA President/ CEO Kim Harmon; Brad Johnson, SGC’s Vice President, Abrasives North America and Bonded Abrasives Worldwide; Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus; Reverend Fred Enman, Founder and Director of Matthew 25; and Patrick Madison, Worcester YouthBuild student who led his fellow YouthBuilders in the WYB pledge.
Mike Quigley and WYB Instructor Francis DeAngelo announced the students as they got the crowd pumped up for the event. A local DJ kept the positive vibe going all day. Neighbors, especially the children, joined in periodically throughout the day, enjoying the excitement and the positive activities in their neighborhood. As YB student Patrick Madison said, “It was a great day, an important day. Important because it improved a community, and displayed all the good that can happen when three great organizations work together. The children on Benefit Terrace will always remember YouthBuild as a positive part of their life, and that’s why we do what we do.”
After the rally and safety training, the group was divided into four teams of students and SGC volunteers. The teams worked on various projects throughout the house including installation of CertainTeed siding and gypsum provided by Saint-Gobain Corporation/ CertainTeed. While working side-by-side with the volunteers from Saint Gobain, our students were able to get to know more about Saint-Gobain and the volunteers were able to learn more about the program and the students’ life stories. “I met some great people today from the Saint-Gobain Corporation, said YB student Cynthia Medrano-Bueno. “I am very proud to be a part of this project at Mathew 25. Days like today help fix communities, this house will be home to two families. I remind myself of that while I work, and I am proud to be part of Worcester YouthBuild.”
With the exception of a short lunch break, work on the projects lasted through mid-afternoon. As things wound down, YouthBuild students and Saint-Gobain employees said their goodbyes. Everyone that worked on the project walked away with not only a sense of accomplishment, but also with new friends. YB student Jacob King summed up the sentiments of the project participants, “I had no idea what to expect today. But this was awesome! I met so many great people, and our message is clear. We are building this house to help this community, and we are learning great skills while doing it.”
Thanks to everyone for making this day a great success!
Link to the Worcester Magazine article!