After two weeks of Mental Toughness Training, the final stage in our application process, 219 students were formally accepted into YouthBuild in a special ceremony at the Doubletree Hotel in Center City. YouthBuild Executive Director Simran Sidhu and Dean of Students Ameen Akbar welcomed this eager and excited group of students into the YouthBuild family as the Class of 2010.
Students celebrated their acceptance into the program through student led “YouthBuild” chants, many hugs, and some tears. Acknowledging the challenges that lay ahead, many students presented their YouthBuild Artifact – keepsakes such as a photo of a family member or personal artwork – that will help them stay motivated throughout the year. These emotional presenters shared inspirational stories about their children, friends, parents, and grandparents. They also spoke about past mistakes and their motivation to reclaim their education and change the paths on which they were headed.
Mental Toughness is over, but the real work has only started for these young people. The new students officially started classes on September 16, 2009 and will work toward high school diplomas, vocational certifications and 675 hours of community service (via AmeriCorps) throughout the next year.
See photos from the Acceptance Ceremony and the first day of class!