Meet Victoria – YouthBuild AmeriCorps

Victoria Irby

Meet Victoria! She is an aspiring artist with a very creative personality. She is also a member of Goodwill’s YouthBuild AmeriCorps Program. YouthBuild is a national educational, leadership, development and occupational skill-training program for young adults. It offers paid construction training, paid education and learning, leadership training, and ongoing support after graduation to help build leaders in the community through service projects.

YouthBuild serves young adults, ages 16 to 24, who are underemployed or do not have a high school diploma, are interested in learning construction and helping to build/repair homes for low-income families, and are willing to commit to nine months of training and development. Victoria has been in the program for approximately six months and has come a long way. She is bettering herself by showing up, making herself available and being willing to learn every day as part of the program.

Before Goodwill, Victoria was staying at home most days dreading getting out of bed. It was hard for her to find the motivation she needed to thrive. She had no structure in place to see the value in her efforts to become the person she wanted to be. Victoria lacked the support to overcome difficult times. Without hope, fear of consequences is absent and it is something that Victoria frequently struggled with.

She learned about Goodwill’s services after she decided to go back to school. After about a year at Metropolitan Community College, she felt it was too complicated for her and was ready for something different. While spending time at the Omaha Public Schools Teacher Administration Center (TAC) building, she read about Goodwill’s YouthBuild AmeriCorps program.
Victoria said lack of motivation was one of the biggest obstacles to finding a job, becoming independent, and becoming the person she envisioned. Before joining YouthBuild AmeriCorps, she was distant from everyone and everything. Victoria stated, “I felt like I didn’t have a purpose. I would probably be dead or doing a lot of unhealthy stuff if it wasn’t for some of the training and support that Goodwill has provided.”

According to Victoria, the training that YouthBuild provides helped her learn the value of patience and not to doubt herself. Since joining the program her social skills have improved, she believes in herself and has the support in place to help fulfill her dreams. She is recognizing the changes in her behavior and can more easily identify her feelings and talk more openly with a level of trust and understanding that did not exist before. It’s also easier for her to identify things she enjoys doing. “I think more before speaking and I care about the feelings and opinions of others,” said Victoria. She is gaining valuable insight and knowledge to help better understand the nuances and intricacies of interpersonal communication and life.

 

Chinese Checkers game board Victoria made

Victoria’s passion for art and creativity will be incredible assets as she continues her journey to find her place in the world. She loves to listen to old school music, like Isaac Hayes and the Isley Brothers. Her taste in music is not surprising when you consider her gentle, calm and relaxed demeanor. Outside of YouthBuild AmeriCorps, Victoria enjoys dancing and doing math (not at the same time, of course), watching her favorite movie, Norbit, and sipping on a nice glass of her favorite beverage, apple juice. Victoria’s favorite holiday is Halloween and she dressed up as Michael Myers last year.

We are very proud of and happy for Victoria and the strides she has made to better herself both personally and professionally. She has embraced this opportunity and we are excited to see more of the beautiful things she will create! The YouthBuild AmeriCorps program has helped her come into her own and we are privileged to help share in her journey as she continues to learn about all the great things she is capable of.

Victoria’s multi-purpose décor creation

For more information regarding Goodwill’s services and programs, please visit https://www.goodwillomaha.org/employment-services/ or call us at (402) 341 – 4609.
If you or anyone you know could benefit from the YouthBuild AmeriCorps Program, please contact:
Norman Barnes – YouthBuild Manager
Goodwill Industries
4805 N. 72nd St., Omaha, NE 68134
Phone: (402) 522-7231
[email protected]

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Congressman Don Bacon Visits Goodwill Omaha

On Monday, February 4, 2019, Congressman Don Bacon visited Goodwill Omaha to learn more about YouthBuild AmeriCorps and congratulate the team on being awarded an $895,437 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor on January 31, 2019.

Congressman Bacon had the opportunity to visit with Goodwill staff including President & CEO Mike McGinnis, Director of Mission Advancement Tobi Mathouser and YouthBuild AmeriCorps Manager Norman Barnes.

During Congressman Bacon’s tour on the YouthBuild AmeriCorps program, he heard first-hand experiences from YouthBuild AmeriCorps Alumni Breona Morrison and current YouthBuild AmeriCorps Member Lori Sayles.

The group discussed topics such as program structure and curriculum, how YouthBuild AmeriCorps makes an impact on youth in our community, and the aspirations of the two young women he met who have experienced YouthBuild AmeriCorps.

“I appreciate all the great efforts that Goodwill is bringing to our community.  The YouthBuild AmeriCorps program is a shining example of how to give our youth and young adults a second chance on life through a structured environment that teaches needed life and job skills they can use to overcome the adversities of their past and succeed in the future,” said Congressman Bacon.

YouthBuild AmeriCorps is an education and training program with a strong pre-apprenticeship component that helps at-risk youth complete high school or state equivalency degree programs. While doing so, participants earn industry-recognized credentials for in-demand occupations, and undergo training to build housing for low-income or homeless individuals and families in their communities.

To learn more about Goodwill mission programs, please visit www.goodwillomaha.org/employment-services.

Congressman Bacon visits with YouthBuild AmeriCorps Alumni Breona Morrison.

Left to right: Dr. Michael McGinnis (President & CEO), Michael Sachar (IT Manager), Breona Morrison (YouthBuild AmeriCorps Alumni), Lori Sayles (YouthBuild AmeriCorps Member), Norman Barnes (YouthBuild AmeriCorps Manager), Jennifer Rohr (Human Resources Director), Congressman Don Bacon, Jim Rich (Goodwill Board of Trustees), Tobi Mathouser (Director of Mission Advancement), Janelle Ellis (Acting Retail Sales Director), Alyssa Beebe (YouthBuild AmeriCorps Construction Trainer), Denise Maddock (Finance Director).

Congressman Bacon visits with YouthBuild AmeriCorps alumni, members and staff.

For Information Contact:

Felix Ungerman
District Director/Deputy Chief of Staff
Congressman Don Bacon
Nebraska, 2nd District
Phone: 402-938-0300
[email protected]

Ann Woodford
Marketing Manager
Goodwill Industries, Inc.
Phone: 402-231-1919
[email protected]

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