Worcester, MA - The Worcester YouthBuild Program graduated fourteen students on Wednesday evening, June 15, 2006. Graduation ceremonies took place at the Worcester Hotel & Conference Center, Garden Courtyard, 500 Lincoln Street, Worcester, MA. The commencement address was given by YouthBuild graduating students, Angel Albino and Melony Otero. Guest speakers included: Kim Harmon, Vice President/Operations of Training Resources of America, Inc., and Raymond V. Mario, Executive Director of Worcester Housing Authority.

Although he was unable to attend the graduation ceremonies, Massachusetts State Senator, Edward M. Augustus, Jr., a strong supporter of YouthBuild, said, "I am encouraged not only by the success of the YouthBuild Program, but also for the contributions that these graduates will provide to our communities in the years to come. (Tonight the graduates) celebrate a remarkable milestone and I look forward to the wonderful work that they have yet to achieve."

YouthBuild is a nationwide network of more than 200 programs that provide comprehensive training to youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who meet low-income guidelines, are not in school and have not received a high school diploma or GED. The program challenges participants to take a giant step by rebuilding their own lives and their communities with a commitment to obtaining their GEDs, learning construction skills through the creation or rehabilitation of low-income housing units, acquiring life/work skills and becoming responsible citizens.

With support from the Worcester Housing Authority, Worcester YouthBuild students are participating in a number of rehabilitation, preventive maintenance, and landscaping projects at 525 housing units at Great Brook Valley Gardens (GBV) and 372 units at Curtis Apartments. The young people's efforts have helped to improve the quality of life for many Worcester residents, while providing the youth with an opportunity to turn their lives around and experience success. The YouthBuild graduates are very enthusiastic about the program. According to student Angel Albino, "I am a proud graduate of the YouthBuild Program in Worcester. This program has been part of my life from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep. I have learned many things from this program. YouthBuild is something that should be kept around for others in need like myself."

The program is supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Massachusetts Department of Education-YouthBuild funds, and local resources.

The Worcester YouthBuild partnership is comprised of lead agency, Training Resources of America and the Worcester Housing Authority. According to Lisa Welcome, program manager, "I am confident that everything the graduates have learned in YouthBuild will guide them throughout their lives to make good decisions for themselves and their families. But the greatest impact of YouthBuild is that it has taught these youth to be role models to their peers as well as to the next generation of young people to follow them."Running sport media

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