YouthBuild Rockford volunteers help to renovate The Rock River Times’ office
By Joe McGehee
More than 20 volunteers from YouthBuild Rockford lent their effort and time to give The Rock River Times’ (TRRT) office a fresh coat of paint—and a much-needed facelift—Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 16-17. Their efforts and quality of work were instantly noticeable as staff returned to the office Monday, Jan. 18.
YouthBuild Rockford is a program that serves out-of-school youth ages 16-24 who are from lower-income communities and who have dropped out of school and are unemployed. Young people who participate in the program spend half their time in academic programming, and the remaining half of their time learning skills in construction or computer technology.
Since its inception in 1995, YouthBuild Rockford has served more than 400 young people. More than 90 percent of those who complete the program have been placed in jobs or educational programs, and members of YouthBuild Rockford have completed more than 94,000 hours of community service in the past 14 years.
“This was a great opportunity for everyone involved to give back to the community,” said Cliff Wright, YouthBuild Rockford’s green projects coordinator. “Like most of our work, this project helped support area citizens by helping a locally-owned newspaper.
“Today’s work was a good way to illustrate the connections between citizens and local businesses,” Wright continued. “This was a win-win situation for everyone involved.”
As the volunteers, who ranged in age from 17 to 24, began the work of moving furniture, taping walls, and finally applying a fresh coat of paint, their dedication and desire to give back became apparent.
“This was a great experience,” said YouthBuild volunteer Sharde Evans. “It feels good to help the community in a time of need.”
Another YouthBuild volunteer, Phillip Ozier, added: “It makes me feel good to give back to the community, and I got some good experience in painting. It was fun to do this project with my friends at YouthBuild.”
TRRT Editor and Publisher Frank Schier said: “The Rock River Times has been a sponsor of YouthBuild Rockford for years, and the mutual support is greatly appreciated. They worked really hard, and we all had a good time doing our best.
“It was a pleasure to work with them,” Schier added. “I was surprised so many came down to help us. Many thanks to all, particularly YouthBuild Rockford Executive Director Kerry Knodle. Because of the efforts of all the YouthBuild Rockford and our staff, we finished in half the time. Thanks, again, so much.”
From the Jan. 20-26, 2010 issue
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