Celebrating the commencement of 40 young adults in YouthBuild Long Island
On Tuesday, June 30, 2015, at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 25 in Hauppauge, United Way of Long Island celebrated the Graduation Ceremony of 40 students from the YouthBuild program. Many of these students have overcome difficult challenges in their lives, and now as a result of the education and training they received, they are ready to embark on a new and successful life journey. A few highlights of the event included, a $200,000 Work Force Grant presentation from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and a surprise appearance and keynote address from Long Islander Mr. James Todd Smith, aka “LL Cool J”. LL Cool J shared some heartfelt words leaving students inspired to follow their dreams. Additionally, he joined the YouthBuild Director Elizabeth Morgan present the graduates with their certificates of completion.
United Way of Long Island celebrated the achievements of the YouthBuild Long Island Class of 2014/2015. In order for YouthBuild Long Island to successfully prepare graduates for their long term-success with their career choice and personal goals they must complete activities and task that focus on Leadership Development, Case Management, Community Service, Education, and Job & Vocational Training. Once completed YouthBuild Long Island graduates are better prepared for their new journey after YouthBuild. Each graduate will leave with a better comprehension of who they are, who they want to be and will have learned the skill sets to achieve their next set of personal and professional goals.
Together, the Class of 2014/2015 completed over 600 community service hours and achieved certification(s) in more than 5 career fields including: Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Medical Billing & Coding, Weatherization & Green Training, Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3), Pre-Apprenticeship Training and Customer Service. Graduates obtained their TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion), increased their numeracy and literacy levels by at least two grade levels and/or achieved a vocational certification. Furthermore, as young leaders in the community, students engaged with elected officials, attended community events, represented the YouthBuild program as community ambassadors, participated in extracurricular activities and gained professional development.
The graduation ceremony was filled with student testimonies, several guest speakers, funders, community partners, family and friends. Lonnie Ellis-Elder, a 2015 YouthBuild graduate stated, “Since enrolling in YouthBuild, so many opportunities have become a reality. Life for me is just getting better and better. I am a story of redemption; a young man who overcame so many obstacles. Yes, life is challenging, very consuming, but it is worth it. Especially when you have a network of a loving family that is YouthBuild Long Island”.