My Letter to the YouthBuild Philly Graduates

As a Saint-Gobain employee, I can personally say that attending the YouthBuild Philly graduation ceremony put into perspective for me not only how our company contributes to the lives of these amazing preserving students, but also what these students contribute to us as employees and partners. 

Students and family gathering outside of the YouthBuild graduation at Zion Baptist church.

 This was my first YouthBuild graduation. I expected it to be like every other graduation ceremony I’ve attended, but boy was I wrong. There were laughs, tears, celebration, dancing, preaching and a lot of joy, support and pride in the room.

During the graduation ceremony a few students shared their individual stories about homelessness, death, young parenthood and the struggle to balance these life situations and education. Me being the big baby that I am, the tears started to flow. I was moved.

As a company we provide students with expertise, product and time, but nothing compares to what the students have provided us. These students have shown me that you can be whatever you want to be. I know, that sounds cliché, but it’s true.

I feel the most fulfilled at work when I interact with the students at YouthBuild. Whether it’s in Philly, Akron, Schenectady or Worcester, these students are fighters and share a common thread…tenacity. I thank the YouthBuild students for sharing their stories. You guys will change the world. You are changing the world.

Your life is a testament, no matter how big or small the story, you have the ability to affect change and to move others by just sharing.

Never forget the tough environment you’ve outgrown. It made you, but it didn’t break you. You are able to face the challenges ahead of you knowing that you overcame something that a lot of your future peers and colleagues wouldn’t last a day in. Stay focused and driven. Congratulations to all of the YouthBuild Philly graduates.

 

 - Felicia Melvin, Communications Specialist for Saint-Gobain 

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YouthBuild and Saint-Gobain’s FIRST Scientist in the Classroom session

On August 7, 2014, Saint-Gobain Corporation and Worcester YouthBuild launched a new pilot program called “Scientists in the Classroom”.  The program is designed to bring a new level of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) training to YouthBuild students, as well as to provide Saint-Gobain scientists and engineers with the opportunity to share their expertise in a volunteer capacity within the classroom setting.

Chris Comeaux and Suresh Annavarapu, two scientists from Saint-Gobain’s Research & Development facility in Northboro, gave the first lesson which involved calculating an area and estimating the cost of a job.  Students were asked to quote a job for tiling the YouthBuild classroom. Exercises involved the following:

  • Step 1:  Calculate the area

–     Add some circle and rectangle areas that don’t need tiling

–     Measure the room

–     Choose a tile

–     How many boxes do you need?

–     How much will the tiles cost?

 

  • Step 2:  Estimate the entire job

–     How long will demo take?

–     How much prep time?

–     Any other materials needed?

–     How long to install the tile?

–     Any finish work?

–     Any other materials?

–     What is your total time?

–     What is your labor rate?

–     Is there a safety factor?

–     What could happen that could cause you to lose money on the job?

This topic involved a lot of math which is the least favorite subject for YouthBuild students.  As student Pedro Vazquez-Calderon expressed, “The scientists from Saint-Gobain made the lesson really fun and interesting.  I learned a lot from this lesson and it made me realize how important science and math really are to our construction project.”

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Saint-Gobain, YouthBuild Worcester and Matthew 25 Gather for an Employee Volunteer Day Celebration

A team of Saint-Gobain employees left their offices and picked up their hard hats for a day of service in support of YouthBuild Worcester and Matthew 25, on 3 Benefit Terrace Street

Saint-Gobain employees rolled up their sleeves and worked with students to install CertainTeed’s gypsum board and siding products, while providing their expertise to help renovate a previously dilapidated multifamily home in Worcester.

Enjoy the video below for a full recap of the event and share with us, in the comments below, your favorite moments!

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Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild Schenectady Complete First LEED Gold Home Renovation [Video]

Hey everyone! Check out the short video below for a look at the ribbon cutting celebration that took place on Emmett Street in Schenectady, NY. Saint-Gobain in partnership with YouthBuild Schenectady completed it’s first LEED Gold renovation project. Also, there is a first look at the next Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild Schenectady project on 323 Schenectady Street.

Be sure to check back here at buildingourfuturetogether.com for more updates on the Saint-Gobain partnership with YouthBuild!

 

 

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WORCESTER YOUTHBUILD, SAINT-GOBAIN & MATTHEW 25 VOLUNTEER SERVICE DAY!

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!

http://worcestermag.com/2014/06/26/three-way-partnership-making-big-difference-worcester-neighborhood/24773

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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YouthBuild Worcester Tours Saint-Gobain Abrasives Plant and Nothboro Research and Development Facility

On June 16, 2014, students from the Worcester YoutBuild Program had the pleasure of meeting staff and touring two of Saint-Gobain’s local facilities. 

The day started at the Saint-Gobain Worcester site where students were checked in, received visitor badges, and safety gear.  After a short walk students joined some of Saint-Gobain’s Worcester staff in the conference room for a brief safety orientation.  Students also received an overview of some of the products that are manufactured at the Worcester site.  Students were then divided into three groups and taken on a tour of Saint-Gobain’s bounded abrasives operations and super abrasives operations.  Students were surprised by the size of the equipment as well as the kilns that are used in manufacturing products at the Worcester site.  Students were very impressed with the varying sizes and uses for the grinding wheels.  After the tour students thanked and said goodbye to Saint-Gobain employees and boarded the bus to Northboro. 

After arriving in Northboro, students were checked in once again and received new visitor passes.  They were taken to a conference room to watch a brief safety video and received an over view of the activity that takes place at the Northboro R&D facility.  Students also received a short lesson on the history of Saint-Gobain and were surprised to find out that the company is hundreds of years old.  Students were also given a presentation on Saint-Gobain careers and the varying opportunities that are offered to employees of the company.  Students were then treated to a delicious lunch provided by Saint-Gobain. During lunch, students were able to chat with many of the Saint-Gobain employees that will be teaching science classes at the YouthBuild Program in the near future.  After lunch, students were then given a tour of the Northboro facility.  Students really enjoyed seeing the laboratory equipment especially the microscopes.  Students were given the opportunity to see some of the equipment in action and were able to see materials at a microscopic level.  The day ended with everyone returning to the conference room where students said goodbye and thanked Saint-Gobain staff for a great day.  

 

HiSET™ Update

After several months of intense classroom work and a lot of studying, seven students from the Worcester YouthBuild Program took and passed the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET™) in early June.  Passing the exam is a testament to the hard work and dedication these students have shown since starting the YouthBuild Program in January.   Worcester YouthBuild staff is very proud of the students that have passed the exam and look forward to helping them prepare for their next steps in their education and careers.  The students that have earned their HiSET™ credential include:  Jamal Beaudette, Cynthia Medrano-Bueno, Deashawn Ivory, Brittany Johnson, Jacob King, Troy Robinson, and Nick Shepardson.

Congratulations – Job Well Done!!!!!

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Saint-Gobain announces partnership with US2020 STEM education program in Philadelphia

At a packed press conference at the Franklin Institute, Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, announced that the city of Philadelphia has been selected as the winner city of the US2020 Science Technology and Math (STEM) city competition program and Saint-Gobain’s support as the lead sponsor. 

Mayor Nutter; Dave Engelhardt, President of CertainTeed, Gypsum; Carmen Williams,  YouthBuild student; and other leaders advocating for STEM education spoke at the press conference in support of Saint-Gobain’s partnership with US2020.

“Staff from Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed mentored us throughout the process of building an environmentally sustainable home,” said Carmen Williams.  “They came to our school so that we could participate in the process of designing the new house.  They also made it possible for us to attend the GreenBuild conference held here in Philadelphia last November, and advised us on how to make the most of that learning experience.”  

We’re looking forward to mentoring, educating and addressing the STEM challenge in Philadelpia, especially with our partners at YouthBuild. Stay tuned for more on this partnership with US2020! 

To learn more, read the City of Philadelphia’s press release: http://www.saint-gobain-northamerica.com/media/newsItem.asp?ID=157

View an article in the Philadelphia Business Journal: http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/news/2014/05/27/city-gets-boost-from-national-organization-to.html?page=all.

Watch a variety of TV news clips: http://bit.ly/1k1ORuF and  http://bit.ly/1kh9Sfe

 

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