Without YouthBuild a lot of young people it serves would either be dead or in jail.
YouthBuild’s goals and mission and so forth are very aligned with my intellectual interests and what I had spent years thinking about in graduate school, which is: how do you get people to progress through the educational pipeline, and what happens when they don’t, and how do you get them back on track?
Every time I think about being too busy—that I have kids and a job and a house and no time and something’s got to give, I think, “Oh, maybe I won’t do YouthBuild any more – I’ll go off the board.” And then I go to a meeting and I talk to one of the students, and I think, “Oh, no—I can’t possibly give this up.”
After I’d been with YouthBuild for a little while, I was asked by the national YouthBuild to work on a study of YouthBuild graduates. And so a colleague of mine at Temple, a guy named James Davis, and I designed a qualitative study to interview graduates from all around the country.
So we went to YouthBuild sites—there are 200 YouthBuild sites all over the country that are all places that, like YouthBuild Philadelphia, provide job training, life skills assistance, and education to high school dropouts. And as we were interviewing people — we’d developed a whole interview protocol — and we were asking them about “What have you done since YouthBuild,” and “What meaning did YouthBuild have?”
We’d done, I don’t know, three or four interviews, and this one young man, a young African American man, sat there and looked at both of us, and said, “You’ve got to understand: if it wasn’t for YouthBuild, I’d be dead or in jail.” And I think that pretty much sums it up—that without YouthBuild, a lot of the young people that it serves would either be dead or in jail or, for the women, on welfare with a lot of kids.
YouthBuild Philadelphia is the largest YouthBuild in the country; we have about two hundred students a year. But somehow, YouthBuild Philly has managed to maintain that family atmosphere. You can go down there and just randomly pick any five or six students in the program and ask them about it, and I guarantee you one of them would say, “Yeah, these people are like family to me,” or something like, “They care about me more than my family does — they call me when I don’t show up for school, they come get me. There are three people who care about me here, and I know who they are.”
And that—that is what distinguishes it, I think, from a lot of other programs.
8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
9:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist with music
10:00 a.m. Parish Forum & Kairos
10:15 a.m. worship.together
Holy Eucharist for families with young children
11:15 a.m. Choral Eucharist
Silent morning meditation is offered at 8:15 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.
We would love to have you join us.
This Episcopal church is located in the heart of the historic neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, five blocks west of Germantown Avenue at the corner of St. Martin’s Lane and West Willow Grove Avenue.