Local non-profit to receive nearly $700,000

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - A lifeline for a local non-profit. A Petersburg organization devoted to helping young adults succeed is getting thousands of dollars in stimulus funds.

The funds will help keep a program called Youth-Build up and running for at least two more years. It's a financial boost staff and students call a lifesaver. The program targets those between the ages of 17 and 24. Young adults who are low income and in need of leadership skills, a GED and career development.

Emanmanuel Hayes calls the program a ticket to a new beginning.

"It helped me clean up my act a little bit because I was out here in the streets I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be do," said Hayes.

Hayes dropped out of high school - today he took his GED test.

"I pray to god I passed it - I really do," Hayes said.

Youth-Build will be able to help more young adults like Hayes thanks to a government grant worth nearly $700,000.

"I'm really excited because that means we can fund this program for at least another 2 years," said Juanita Epps, Pathways, Program Manager.

The labor department is handing out 114 million dollars nationwide for similar programs. In Petersburg, folks at Youth-Build say the funds could not have come at a better time. The program survives on donations and grants.

"Young people are our present and if we can't help them now, they're not going to be able to provide for us in the future," said Epps.

Right now, the about 45 students are enrolled in the program. With this new infusion on cash that number will likely expand. As for these students they say they have new hope and a new dream for the future.

"I'm climbing the ladder and I'm not going to stop until I reach the top," said Hayes.

The Youth-Build program in Petersburg took its first group of students in 2001.

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