We are also saying farewell to Sharell Harmon, our Program Assistant.
We will miss Sharell but could not be prouder of her and her journey in professional development. After weighing multiple job offers, Sharell has accepted a position with Philanthropy WV in their Membership and Operations department where she will share her passion to improve Appalachian Communities.
Philanthropy West Virginia is the central resource for companies, of all sizes, which are committed to community involvement, giving, and corporate responsibility in West Virginia and central Appalachia.
More news from YBUSA…
|Reconstructing a Life through Service in West Virginia.|
YB USA Celebrates Alumni Sharell Harmon, during Black History Month, as an inspiring young leader!
Sharell Harmon is a 2015 Graduate of YouthBuild NCWV
|This month we say goodbye to Morgan Swisher our AmeriCorps VISTA. Morgan has spent one year of volunteer service with YouthBuild. Morgan’s focus during this year has been YouthBuild Recruitment. The Covid 19 Pandemic forced YouthBuild to shut down in 2020, Morgan had to work from home for half of her service year. Despite that, Morgan successfully:|
-Developed a YBNC Recruitment Handbook
-Updated our list of Community Partners and Resources
-Created Instagram and Twitter accounts to reach a wider, younger audience
-Interviewed graduates and created a recruitment video which was featured in the RCHA 40th Anniversary Gala. Click Here to See the Video or on our website www.youthbuildncwv.org
-Wrote YouthBuild NCWV’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy
Morgan – thank you for a great year!
We wish you well as you transition from YouthBuild in West Virginia to your next adventure in California and possibly another VISTA Year of Service.
“Keep the experience as natural as you can… make it into the best thing that has ever happened to you and it can be the best thing that has ever happened to you… ”
William is a 2017 YBNCWV graduate. Before Youth Build, William was working at a high-end restaurant in Elkins—but, when faced with the opportunity to be promoted into a higher paying position, he wasn’t eligible for the opportunity due to the lack of educational credentials. At that time, William was a High School drop-out and had been out of school for 5 years already. William was referred to Youth Build by family and friends, and after enrolling in the program he quickly excelled. Shortly after enrolling, William passed and obtained his TASC diploma and accumulated many other certifications like plumbing and OSHA. William was also elected onto the Young Leaders Council for Youth Build USA at the 2017 National Conference for Young Leaders, where he advocated for other rural youth builders across the U.S. After graduating from the program, William served another term of service with AmeriCorps at the Frontline and the Education Alliance where he mentored Middle School aged children.
“I was told that I had a 91 percent turn around rate with the Middle School students I mentored and it really changed my life for the better because I was able to go into an area where I failed and help the kids in a way I wished I had help at that age” –William Gartmann
Williams dream is to own his very own restaurant and introduce culinary opportunities to other youth builders and YBNCWV graduates as a career pathway, in hopes to provide the same experiences he skilled with a passion for food and hospitality.
“From the day I stepped foot into Youth Build North Central WV, my life has never been the same. It is like I jumped onto a moving train to success.” -Sharell Harmon
My name is Sharell Harmon. My experience is one of challenges and reconstruction. My story is a Youth Build story.
I was raised in a single-parent home with three children. By age 17, I was a mother to my oldest son. Thirteen months later, I was a mother of two. Providing for my children comes naturally to me. I was celebrating my second year in my first home with my two oldest children and all was well. I had a good paying, full-time job, a reliable vehicle and my bills were paid.
When I started making $13.50 an hour, my childcare assistance was terminated. I could not rely on family and friends to watch after my children while I worked. Eventually, my work hours diminished to a point of no return. I still do not understand how I went from being a working mother receiving a minor amount of assistance to losing my job and needing to fully rely on government benefits.
I wound up losing my house first, the car second and my dignity third. Mentally, I was shattered. I was so anxious to find a way back to self-sufficiency and I was pregnant with my third child. I felt like I was set up for failure.
I knew what I had to do to ensure that everything was right in my life and for my children. Months later, I applied for subsidized housing in Elkins, West Virginia. It was important that we had a place to call home again, to rehabilitate our lives and get back on track with our family’s growth. When we got to Elkins, I knew I would have to depend on assistance just until I got established.
At my initial appointment, my new caseworker asked if I was interested in the Youth Build program. She handed me the brochure. It had three questions… Do you need a GED? Do you need a job? Are you between the ages of 16 and 24? I did not need my GED because I had already obtained my high school diploma, while having two kids and working, but I did need a job and a fresh start.
For once, I was doing something for myself. Not for financial gain, but to regain my dignity. The entire staff at my Youth Build program has helped me get there. From the day I stepped foot into Youth Build North Central (WV), my life has never been the same. It is like I jumped onto a moving train to success. In my third month at Youth Build, my program manager, Michelle, encouraged and supported me in attending and representing our Youth Build program at the 2015 Conference of Young Leaders (CoYL). She made me feel invincible and powerful. I knew it was my time to step up. I was born a leader, I just never felt it or recognized it until I came across the Youth Build movement.
The CoYL was M-A-G-I-C-A-L! No other word can describe the experience I had. I gave my first public speech at the CoYL (in front of more than 200 people) about why my leadership was needed on the Youth Build USA Young Leaders Council. I was voted onto the council. I had never been so confident in myself.
Since being a Youth Build graduate, I have gained many credentials, volunteered in my community and served for change. I was even featured in a New York Times article about the Lifeline Program (the free cell phone service that helped me to communicate when moving to West Virginia). After Youth Build, I completed a 4-year term of service with West Virginia AmeriCorps, providing emergency food supplies to low-income people in Randolph County and Historic Preservation. Service and giving back is now my life. It is what I absolutely love to do. I continued to serve on Youth Build USA’s Young Leaders (YLC) and Policy Councils and was later elected President of the YLC. I now hold an Associates Degree, obtained from Pierpont Community and Technical College– and entering into my Senior Year at West Virginia University where I will obtain my Bachelors in Sociology.
“I am now the happiest I have ever been in my entire life. I feel unstoppable. It is scary to think that I would have never had any of these experiences had I not come across Youth Build. My leadership was exposed through Youth Build and now I am a phenomenal young woman and my future is brighter than it has ever been. I am back on the path to success. Youth Build was my “compass”—guiding me along the way.” -Sharell Harmon
“Keep working towards your dream… things may seem rough, like they are out of view or out of touch… but, if you keep working towards it you’ll get there eventually”
Courtney Harris is a 2019 YBNCWV graduate. Courtney obtained her High School diploma in 2013, but had a hard time finding employment because she didn’t have any professional experience.
“I had applied for jobs all over Elkins and because I didn’t have any job experience, I couldn’t get hired anywhere” –Courtney Harris
Once enrolled at YBNCWV, Courtney was able to gain the necessary professional and personal development she needed to join the workforce. She obtained many certifications (First Aid/CPR, OSHA and many more) and attended courses through Garrett College like Office Administration and Med Prep. Courtney’s main goal was to be self-sufficient and obtain a good quality job. Courtney was hired by Davis Medical Center (local hospital), where she volunteered while enrolled at YBNCWV. While volunteering at the hospital, she helped with scanning patient documents. Courtney was appreciated so much as a YBNCWV volunteer, that the hospital personnel thought Courtney would be a perfect fit to join their team—she was hired the week before graduating the YBNCWV program and she now works in the Patient Registration Department and has college credits at Davis and Elkins College. Courtney’s goal is to obtain a double major in Art and Education. Her dream is become an Art teacher.
“When you feel like you can no longer do it… STRIVE, because there is always a rainbow at the end of the tunnel” –Kate Collins
Kate Collins is a 2018 YBNCWV graduate. Pregnant at 15 years old, Kate was faced with trying to attend school and attend to her newborn baby. Even though she was setup for homebound schooling, it was not successful for Kate. Eventually, Kate had to drop out from High School and enroll in Youth Build.
“I had to do something with myself because it was so hard to go to school, work and take care of a newborn baby as a teenager” –Kate Collins
While enrolled at YBNCWV, Kate obtained many certifications and her TASC, but most significantly she obtained a certificate in Chronic Disease and Diabetes Management so that she could education others on how to deal with illness and diabetes. She volunteered at the local hospital (Davis Medical Center) and attended the 2018 Conference of Young Leaders in Washington, D.C where she met other young people who attend Youth Build programs across the U.S. After graduating from YBNCWV, Kate signed on for another term with AmeriCorps under the Education Alliance—she mentors disconnected children in Middle School as an initiative to support under-served youth in Randolph County Schools. Kate’s dream is to work with disabled youth; she wants to continue her education at Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, WV to obtain a degree in Special Education.
“There are days that you aren’t going to want to come… whatever is going on you’re not going to want to do it, but you have to because if you don’t come… that could be a day you miss something important and miss the opportunity to that will get you where you want to be. You’ve gotta want it… because if you don’t, you’re not going to succeed” –Sylvia Adams
Sylvia Adams is a 2017 YBNCWV graduate. Unsuccessful with completing High School, traditionally, Sylvia decided the first step towards a brighter future would be obtaining her GED, now known as the TASC diploma.
“All the jobs that I wanted, I didn’t qualify for… because I didn’t have my high school diploma and it pushed me to get into a program where I could get the qualifications I needed” -Sylvia Adams
This motivated her to enroll at Youth Build NCWV. While in Youth Build, she obtained her OSHA, First Aid/CPR and many other certifications. She also attended Garrett College Med Prep courses— she completed the Medical Assistant and two courses in Medical Terminology. Sylvia also job shadowed at Davis Medical Center while enrolled at YBNCWV, and was hired on to work in the Operating Room Department (O.R.). Sylvia’s dream is to pursue her education and career in Phlebotomy, and hopes to employ the AmeriCorps Education Award she obtained after completing her Youth Build AmeriCorps term with YBNCWV.
“Always try to find a different path before giving up on the things you want to do because there are so many different paths in life” -Kaden Stewart
Kaden Stewart is a 2018 YBNCWV graduate. Before enrolling into the Youth Build program, Kaden was having a difficult time with peers because of his transgender identity. Kaden also suffered mental illness and missed a lot of school because of medical reasons—before he knew it, Kaden found himself in 9th grade for the 3rd year in a row and at that point he made the tough decision to discontinue public schooling. Even though Kaden had the support of his mother to discontinue school, he didn’t want to quit on his educational success. After researching alternatives for education, with the support of his family, Kaden found Youth Build NCWV. Kaden and his family sought YBNCWV as a good alternative because Kaden would be able to obtain job skills, income and most importantly the TASC diploma. While in Youth Build, Kaden was able to obtain many certifications like OSHA, First Aid/CPR, Food Handlers and his TASC, which he tested for on his 17th birthday…
“I told myself, this is my birthday present to me… I’m going to get this!” –Kaden Stewart.
After graduating Youth Build, Kaden enrolled into Fairmont State University to pursue his dream in Arts.