Students from Community Action’s Beloit YouthBuild Fresh Start Program in Nation’s Capital to Advocate for Increased Support

 On April 3rd, Candelaria Diaz and Ike Lee from Community Action’s Beloit YouthBuild Fresh Start program will be in Washington, D.C. meeting with our elected officials. They are being joined by over 100 fellow students from YouthBuild programs across the country to advocate for increased federal dollars to support YouthBuild USA. For 35 years, YouthBuild programs have proven to be truly effective in reconnecting low-income young people ages 16 to 24, all without a high school diploma, to education and employment.

Community Action’s Beloit YouthBuild Fresh Start program is one of 264 YouthBuild programs in the US where young people like Candelaria Diaz and Ike Lee are working toward their GEDs or high school diplomas while simultaneously receiving job training and earning a living allowance as they help build affordable housing in their communities. Tremendous emphasis is also placed on preparation for careers and/or postsecondary education, leadership development, community service, and the creation of a positive mini-community of adults and youth committed to each other’s success.

YouthBuild is the only national community-based youth development program focused on low-income young people who have left high school without a diploma, offering an equal emphasis on education and job training in which the students build valuable assets for their communities, internalizing the ethic of service while gaining the academic and job skills they need to take responsibility for themselves and their families.

And that’s why this trip is so important to Candelaria Diaz and Ike Lee. Candelaria and Ike are 2013 YouthBuild Fresh Start graduates. They are currently working with Beloit YouthBuild Fresh Start program as Full Time AmeriCorps members. Candelaria works as an Academic Program Assistant and Ike works as a Construction Program Assistant. Both of these young people work hard to encourage and promote all of the YouthBuild values.

While in D.C. on April 3 – National YouthBuild Day – Candelaria, Ike and their fellow YouthBuilders will be asking their elected officials, specifically Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, to sign on to a letter that is now being circulated by New York Senator Gillibrand to her fellow senators. The letter asks for an increase to $102.5M in the 2015 Department of Labor federal appropriation, thus returning the program to its FY 2010 funding level. At this level, 25 additional rural and urban communities will be able to offer this outstanding opportunity to disconnected youth seeking a chance to rebuild their communities and their lives.

YouthBuild was first authorized in 1992 under the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and was transferred to the US Department of Labor in 2006. Since 1992, more than 120,000 of America’s most economically disadvantaged young adults, over 90% of whom left high school without a diploma, have participated in YouthBuild. These 120,000 young people have built over 22,000 unit of affordable housing. Learn more at

Community Action’s Beloit YouthBuild Fresh Start program is an education and job-training program for at-risk youth, providing opportunities for youth to help themselves while helping others in the community. Youth are enrolled full-time. Half of their time is spent in an intensive individualized educational program to complete their high school education, while the remainder of their time is spent on one of three career tracks: business, healthcare or construction. Visit for more information.

For more information about Community Action’s Beloit YouthBuild Fresh Start program contact:
Linda Fair, Fresh Start Academic Supervisor

For more information about YouthBuild USA contact:
Deborah Edison