Working for Worcester

Working for Worcester

Working for Worcester is a student inspired and organized 501(c)3 social initiative that brings together college students, local businesses, non-profits, neighborhood groups, community and faith-based organizations, government agencies, and major corporations to promote stronger community wellness through creating recreation infrastructure and facilities at Worcester’s schools, parks, community centers, sports fields, and other valuable family and youth oriented spaces.  April 12, 2014 marked the 2nd year that hundreds of local volunteers came together to work on 20 community projects throughout Worcester.  The projects ranged from turning a storage cellar into a multipurpose fitness and dance studio from scratch, building playgrounds and renovating classrooms in the Worcester Public Schools. Worcester YouthBuild is proud to have helped make 2014 Working for Worcester a very successful event!


Worcester YouthBuild students joined forces with the Worcester Public Schools (WPS) Transition Program and volunteers from Holy Cross College, Clark University, and YBUSA to renovate two Transition Program classrooms at the WPS Fanning Building. The Worcester Public Schools Transition Program helps students between the ages of 18 and 22 prepare for real world success.  Two of their students are currently enrolled in the Worcester YouthBuild Program, and both are on pace to graduate next fall. Because of their success in Worcester YouthBuild, TRA and the Transition Program have built a great relationship that helped lead us to volunteering this year for the Working For Worcester campaign.

Pictured at left are Mike Quigley, TRA-Worcester YouthBuild Director, with Judy Fask (right), Worcester Public Schools Transition Rehab Specialist.



In the photo at right are (from left to right) Nathan Stowell, WYB Case Manager, Robert Kuszewski, Transition Program/WYB student, and Francis DeAngelo, WYB Instructor.

The day began with a large rally at Holy Cross College outside the Hogan Center. Students picked up their T-shirts, had breakfast that was provided by Panera Bread and took pictures with the Red Sox World Series Trophies.  After enjoying the morning festivities, the students made their way to the Fanning Building to start their work.  Below, WYB student Terrence Cameron—Remillard admires the trophies!

Below are “Before Photos” of the two classrooms that we helped to renovate, paint, organize, and build/ install new shelving units.


When WYB arrived at the Fanning Building, we were divided into groups of painters, cutters, and a third group was in charge of making the new shelving unit for the teacher’s room.  This was a day-long process.

Worcester YB student Deshawn Ivory (in photo Belowt) expressed the sentiments of his fellow classmates, when he said, “It was a pleasure to improve my community. I really love YouthBuild, and I am always looking to give back because of the opportunities the program provides for me.  Also, I know that we have students from the Transition Program in YouthBuild with me and they are two great guys, and good friends of mine. Today was a great day, I hope to come back as a YB alumni next year and help out again.”

A special shout-out and thanks to our good friends from YouthBuild USA, Kate White and Christina McPike, who came from Boston and stayed all day long helping to paint, build shelving units, and establish great relationships with the students and staff at Worcester YouthBuild!










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Training Resources of America – Worcester YouthBuild, Class of 2014

This year’s Worcester YouthBuild started in January with 28 students competing for 17 slots in YouthBuild classroom. They all entered what is known as Mental Toughness (MT), three weeks of growing together as a family, and proving that we can handle the challenges that will come our way over the next ten months. During this time if students are even one minute late for class they are removed from the running as a YouthBuild student. Students participated in classroom team building activities, field trips in the Worcester area, TABE testing, OSHA 10 training and basic academics. After three weeks, 17 students earned their way into the YouthBuild program. They received a certificate of achievement for completing Mental Toughness, a Tool Box, basic hand tools and work boots.

2014 Mental Toughness Graduation

YouthBuild students working together on their MLK Projects

After completing MT, YouthBuild students were split into two groups that are alternating between the worksite and the classroom every other week.  Worcester YouthBuild is partnering with Matthew 25, a non-profit organization, helping to renovate a 2-family home located at 3 Benefit Terrace in Worcester that will be rented to two low-income families upon completion.  In the classroom, students have started to prepare for the High School Equivalency certification (HiSET) exams and also started working on their individual Quarter One classroom project.  All students are required to complete a classroom project each quarter in order to graduate from Worcester YouthBuild. So far, each student has completed a project on Martin Luther King and presented a research project on a topic of their choice in the form of a PowerPoint.

Worcester YouthBuild at 2014 MA YouthBuild State House Day



Students also participated in the Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition State House Day.  Worcester YouthBuild students met with their State Senators and Representatives to share their stories, emphasize the value and significance of YouthBuild programming, and ask for continued support of YouthBuild.

YouthBuilder Troy Robinson led Worcester YouthBuild in its pledge:

YouthBuild Pledge

We the members of Worcester YouthBuild,

Pledge to work together,

To improve our lives,

Rebuild our Community,

And develop our potential as Leaders.

We will represent YouthBuild and ourselves

By always treating others with respect,

And being positive role models within our community

We are Worcester YouthBuild!

YouthBuild students Cynthia Medrano and Marcus Diaz

Members of the Worcester YouthBuild Team!

YouthBuild students are also making great progress on the worksite.  Under the guidance of their construction supervisor Gerald Siplas, students have begun installing CertainTeed siding and have fire blocked the entire house. They have replaced all the windows and helped build dormers on the third floor. Our goal to finish one of the units by the end of this summer and continue to make a positive impact in the Worcester community!

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Saint-Gobain Donates 40 Printers to YouthBuild Students

Saint-Gobain donated  approximately 40 printers, valued at nearly $2,000, from the Valley Forge headquarters to the YouthBuild charter school in Philadelphia. Employees from the company also led an educational discussion with students on the importance of sustainability, IT careers and future goals. This initiative was conducted  through IT and EHS to save electricity, paper and toner usage in Valley Forge.

Check out the video below for a recap!

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YouthBuild at Greenbuild 2013!

Youthbuild students showcased their contribution to sustainability at the Greenbuild trade show and expo in Philadelphia this year. YouthBuild students, with the support of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed employees, prepared for Greenbuild in anticipation of learning and demonstrating to expo attendees what YouthBuild is all about. Students participated in credited education courses, went to events and held conversations with booth attendees during the trade show.

CertainTeed also rewarded two students with tickets to an Eagles game! These students exhibit leadership, hard work and dedication to their team and education. Check out the video below for a recap of YouthBuild at Greenbuild this year!

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Saint-Gobain News Release, Valley Forge, Pa., January 16– Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest building materials companies, announces today it has extended its national partnership with YouthBuild USA via a one-year $200,000 grant, which will continue to support YouthBuild’s Green Initiative and YouthBuild programs in four communities where Saint-Gobain has business concentrations, including: Worcester, Mass., Schenectady, N.Y., Akron, Ohio, and Philadelphia, Pa. This will be the fourth year of the partnership between Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild USA, with funding from the Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation and support from the Saint-Gobain family of companies in the form of products, employee volunteerism and technical expertise. The partnership supports the youth development program’s national green building and job training program that provides former out-of-school youth the opportunity to build energy-efficient homes in their neighborhoods while earning their GEDs or high school diplomas.

The partnership with Saint-Gobain is a first of its kind for the YouthBuild programs and YouthBuild USA nationally. “For the first time in YouthBuild’s 35-year history, we have a partner that not only shares our passion for green building and our students’ professional development, but also has the ability to donate a breadth of energy-efficient building products and technical expertise from their most knowledgeable building scientists,” said Dorothy Stoneman, Founder and CEO of YouthBuild USA. “We are excited to see the lives and communities we can impact together with Saint-Gobain’s commitment for another year.”

Each of the four YouthBuild programs that are part of the partnership with Saint-Gobain will receive a portion of the $200,000 in the form of pass-through grants over the course of 2014. The extended partnership will make it possible for:

• YouthBuild Philadelphia to complete two more projects that are already underway at 2006 and 2007 Wingohocking Street in Philadelphia’s Nicetown neighborhood;
• YouthBuild Schenectady to identify and complete another project;
• YouthBuild Worcester to identify and complete another project;
• YouthBuild Akron to identify and complete another project; and lastly
• Support to aid in the development of a ”Scientists in the Classroom” pilot program to leverage Saint-Gobain scientists and engineers to expose young people to curriculum and careers in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics

“Three years ago, Saint-Gobain entered into this partnership with YouthBuild because we saw an opportunity to share our nearly 350 years of building and construction expertise with students and help transform their lives and their neighborhoods. However, we had the student/teacher relationship all wrong,” said John Crowe, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed. “Over the course of hundreds of volunteer hours, the experience has changed the lives of hundreds of employees who have donated their time to work alongside YouthBuild students. The students have taught our employees lessons in drive, tenacity and heart, and it is a great privilege and honor to continue supporting these students through the YouthBuild program in years to come.”

Since December 2010, the partnership has supported green home renovation projects in four communities. In addition to the $550,000 in pass-through grants already donated, each program has received donated building products from eight different Saint-Gobain businesses, including its building materials subsidiary and primary in-kind donator CertainTeed, which have helped YouthBuild to achieve energy-efficiency, sustainability and affordability goals, enhance indoor environmental quality (IEQ) of each home and ensure projects are both sustainable and aesthetic. Additionally, Saint-Gobain employees have participated in special educational events, known as design charrettes, to ensure the students have the knowledge to build the most sustainable project possible. Through the partnership, to date, Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild have completed three homes that were sold to low-to-moderate-income families – two of which attained LEED® Platinum certification, the highest level of sustainable building certification.




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YouthBuild at Greenbuild 2013!

At this year’s Greenbuild trade show and expo, YouthBuild students participated and showcased an excellent representation of youth building green and sustainable homes in their neighborhoods. Students participated in education courses, social events, networking opportunities, while learning and having fun along the way. 

The YouthBuild, Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Greenbuild experience kicked off on November 15th during a YouthBuild mentor luncheon with Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed employees. Others in attendance were Katherine Gajewski, the Director of Sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, Kimberly Lewis, Senior Vice President, Community Advancement, Conference & Events at U.S. Green Building Council and many more. Students and mentors broke out into groups to have discussions about what to expect at Greenbuild. Students registered for their courses and took valuable advice from the speakers and their mentors in preparation for Greenbuild.


During the Greenbuild show Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed took time out to award and congratulate two YouthBuild students, Jerome and Carmen, with tickets to an Eagles game! Tom Smith, President of CertainTeed roofing, assisted in honoring and awarding the students for their hard work. These students were recognized because of their leadership qualities and strong work ethic. Congrats, Jerome and Carmen! 

Lastly, Carmen Ferringo, Vice President of Communications for Saint-Gobain, Lucas Hamilton; Manager of Building Science Applications for CertainTeed, Chris Cato, Green Initiative Project Manager for YouthBuild and Don Pinkney YouthBuild Philadelphia, Construction Manager conducted a credited course on the Saint-Gobain-CertainTeed partnership and the importance of LEED building.


For more information on other events that took place at Greenbuild, check out the Saint-Gobain Facebook page.




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An Update on Saint-Gobain’s Partnership with YouthBuild

Here’s an update on Saint-Gobain and its partnership with YouthBuild!  Saint-Gobain has been busy working with students by volunteering, helping celebrate our partnership at YouthBuild’s 35th anniversary celebration and educating students on building to LEED standards. Check out the video for a quick update and fun footage of what we’ve been up to!


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