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Weekly Round-Up of Featured Organizations: YouthBuild, Big Brothers Big Sisters, American Youth Work, and Equal Justice Works

A weekly quick look at the recent accomplishments, partnerships, and initiatives of a few of the organizations featured in The American Way to Change…

YouthBuild helps youth volunteers aide in community development, specifically addressing issues in low-income neighborhoods.  The organization helps low-income young adults work toward their GEDs or high school diplomas, learn job skills and serve their communities through building affordable homes, and transforming their own lives and roles in society.  Recently, Bank of America gave Youthbuild a grant of $500,000 to help them expand educational services to underserved youth.  The work of the youth in question will focus on building environmentally friendly housing in low-income areas.  With this partnership, Bank of America hopes that it is creating a path to success and career-readiness for at risk youths.

Big Brothers Big Sisters believes that every child, despite their background has the ability to succeed.  For over 100 year, the organization has made meaningful and fulfilling mentoring relationships with adults and children ages 6 to 18.  Last week, the Philadelphia branch of BBBS announced a partnership with the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  The partnership is focusing on helping children of single, low-income and incarcerated parents succeed, and is especially beneficial because many BBBS agencies are facing waitlists that disproportionally represent African American Boys.  According to AME Director of Christian Education Reverend Daryl Ingram, ”We can become Big Brothers or recruit volunteers, and we can help Big Brothers Big Sisters raise funds to grow their quality programs and provide the kind of ongoing support that makes their mentoring matches successful.”

American Youth Works, a group based in Austin, Texas, works to improve the lives and futures of at risk youth through education, service, and green jobs training.  They run a public charter high school, a GED program, and green jobs training and service programs.  Last week, the organization hired a new CEO, Parc Smith.  Smith started with American YouthWorks in 1995 as a teacher and crew leader for the Environmental Corps and later became Director of Environmental Corps and part of the Senior Management Team.  In addition, he has 17 years of trail design and park construction experience.   According to the Board President, Margarine Beaman, “The Board announces a new era at AYW. With the energy, dedication and integrity of Parc Smith as our CEO, we can only move forward to continue changing the lives of young people.”

Equal Justice Works wants to develop a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice.  They provide programs that begin with new law school students and extend into later careers in law. They provide the nation’s foremost public interest law fellowship program and offer more postgraduate, full-time legal positions in public service than any other organization.  Recently, the organization announced that it has chosen 43 law students and recent grads to be a part of the 2010 Equal Justice Works Fellowships.  The recipients will spend 2 years providing legal services for underserved people and causes.  The Fellows design projects with the help of nonprofit organizations to provide legal services in low income communities for a range of issues including homelessness prevention, immigration, criminal defense and Native American rights.

Stay tuned next week…