YouthBuild profiled in 12/27/2009 Washington Post article

Today’s Washington Post includes an article on YouthBuild. 

The article mentions YouthBuild’s second campus coming in 2011 to the JF Cook School.  Executive Director Arthur Dade is quoted.

Note that the article mentions that several of the YouthBuild students have criminal records.

I have copied a few paragraphs of this Post  article here.

YouthBuild drafts opportunities for dropouts

Sunday, December 27, 2009; C01


In a run-down apartment building in Northeast Washington, a teenage single mother smooths a concrete mixture into large holes and cracks in the walls of a gutted kitchen. The place is drafty, the work dirty. But this makeshift classroom is also Cierra Fortune’s second chance at a high school education.

“When I first heard about it, I thought: ‘I’m not going to do construction. I’m a girl,’ ” said Fortune, 18, who dropped out of school during her junior year when daughter Miracle was born.  “High school’s not for me anymore.  I’m not going to say this is easier, because it’s not. But I can manage it better.”

YouthBuild Charter School in Columbia Heights recruits recent high school dropouts to study for the GED and learn construction skills such as demolition, installing floors and building retaining walls.   Completed class projects — including the apartments in Northeast and a rehabbed home in the Trinidad neighborhood — are sold as affordable housing to low-income individuals and families.

About half of the students are parents.  Several have criminal records that limit their job prospects. One-third speak no English.


The charter school hopes to open a second campus in 2011 at the former J.F. Cook Elementary School near North Capitol and P streets NW, which closed last year. The second campus would be able to accommodate an additional 150 students and offer housing for homeless youths, Executive Director Arthur Dade said. 

“The demand is there. These students have decided they want to do this, they want to change their life, then they hear that their name didn’t get picked,” said Dade. “To hear another no — that could be a huge deterrent for them.”

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