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Recent News

“YouthBuild lauded for keeping Fresno students from repeat offenses,” Fresno Bee, 1/21/16
-“[The recent report] ‘Life After Lockup‘ found that 11 percent of previously convicted YouthBuild students in 260 communities were convicted of another crime after one year. That’s compared to the 21 to 33 percent one-year recidivism rate nationwide. Even lower rates were recorded at nine YouthBuild programs with intensive programming for court-involved youths, including in Fresno. Just 1 percent of those students were convicted of another crime within a year. Shawn Riggins, director of the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission’s Local Conservation Corps, leads YouthBuild locally. The program includes a charter school for those who lack a high school diploma and on-site Fresno City College classes. He said students arrive at YouthBuild thinking people gave up on them and leave feeling like family. They work alongside Fresno police officers in low-income neighborhoods and help build affordable homes.” Read more here.”

Plenty of credits, no diploma,” Hechinger Report, 1/19/15
-Niko Salas, a YouthBuild Charter alumnus, was interviewed for this story about students who transferred schools and had to retake classes they’d already taken, thus leaving them over-credited but with out a diploma. Excerpt: “Seeing everything that YouthBuild did for us and how they helped me to change my life, I’m a much better person,” he says. “I want to be that change in someone’s life. This is what I want to do with the rest of my life.” Full article here.

Thousands of California kids don’t get past middle school,” Hechinger Report, 8/20/2014
-Devon Sanford, a recent graduate from our San Bernardino site at YouthBuild Inland Empire, is profiled in this piece about California students who leave school before making it to high school. Our Founder/CEO Phil Matero was also interviewed for this article about middle school push-outs. “How these kids never get on the radar – how is it that nobody realized they never started high school – it’s baffling,” said Phil Matero. Full article here

“Teens, young adults create mural with peace in Pomona as theme,” Daily Bulletin, 8/20/14
-Students from our Pomona site at the San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps worked on a mural that promotes peace and has helped foster creativity. “It really is a community mural with a community design,” said Andrew Quinones, who in addition to being a professional artist is the director of mentoring, art and culture for the San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps. Click here for full article.

“AV YouthBuild’s latest grant guides young people to success,” Our Weekly Los Angeles, 8/8/2014
-Our Palmdale site at Antelope Valley YouthBuild recently received a grant from the SunPower Foundation to continue providing education, career development services, and and leadership opportunities to young people in the Antelope Valley. “YouthBuild Charter School has helped introduce a unique educational approach to young people who have had trouble in traditional schools. ‘It’s a project-based learning curriculum,’ Johnson said. ‘It’s all about hands-on; taking concepts they would normally be frustrated with in a textbook and putting them to real-life experience. It’s a great way of learning, and it’s a great partnership for us.'” Read more here.

“Hacking for Gold,” KCET, 5/5/15
-An in-depth look at our first ever WebSlam hack-a-thon event. Excerpt: “WebSlam was born of Despenza’s determination to help youths learn about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). WebSlam’s participants, half of whom are female and all of whom identify as either African-American or Latino, are youths who could use such help, as recent research suggests.” Read full article here.

“Can Urban WebSlams STEM the Dropout Tide?” Forbes, 4/22/14
-YouthBuild Charter School of California’s first-ever WebSlam was covered by Forbes. Here’s a quote from the article, “...Learning to code not only sets the table for Web-related work, it is also a gateway to STEM fields in general. ‘Teaching students how to code will help increase math and critical thinking skills and open the door to technology-related jobs,’ said Nadia Despenza, YCSC’s STEM Coordinator, and creator of  the schools’ first WebSlam. ‘And that will ultimately serve as a pathway out of poverty for many of these talented young people.'” Click here to read the full article on