Ross and Vinton Youthbuild AmeriCorps Programs
Jeff Fite, Director of Job Readiness and Training
Fred Bush, Construction Supervisor
Joy Dickerson, Recruitment and Aftercare Coordinator
Tonya Bayless, Supportive Services Coordinator
Tim Jones, Vinton County Distance Learning Coordinator
Bill Wederbrook, Vinton County Vocational Trainer
Gary Kellough, Ross County Coordinator
Sam Davidson, Ross County Distance Learning Coordinator
Shawn Parker, Ross County Vocational Trainer
Youthbuild AmeriCorps of Southeastern Ohio is a program of Sojourners, headquartered in McArthur and Chillicothe, Ohio. Youthbuild serves young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who have not received a high school diploma. (Those with a diploma who otherwise qualify will also be considered for the program). Participants learn construction and carpentry skills by building homes for low-income families and through furniture making, while receiving leadership and education support leading to a high school diploma or GED. After reaching certain benchmarks, participants are paid for their work. Participants are also required to make a Life Plan based on achievable goals.The Youthbuild model of hands-on vocational training, coupled with scholastic work toward a diploma, provides a unique opportunity for young women and men who require additional support and a flexible learning environment. Youthbuild participants receive intensive encouragement from the construction and education staff. Participants have the opportunity to receive industry trainings and credentials in welding, construction skills, workplace safety, logistic arts, plus skills necessary to get and keep a job. Youthbuild participation is voluntary.
The Sojourners Youthbuild AmeriCorps program is one of 156 local YouthBuild programs across the country which enable 3,000 YouthBuild students each year to earn an AmeriCorps education award for the service they provide building affordable housing. The program supports the spirit of service that is at the heart of both Sojourners and Youthbuild, making it possible for each Youthbuild AmeriCorps participant to provide 450 hours of community service and earn an $1,450 education award.
- Between the ages of 16 and 24
- Lacking a high school diploma
- May have court involvement or other factors putting them at risk
- Work in harmony with other participants and staff
- Help others to succeed
- Focus on goals
- Avoid drugs and alcohol (periodic drug testing is required)
- Dress appropriately (Youthbuild uniform)
- Abide by all rules and regulations
- Be a good ambassador of the program
- Intake interview to determine eligibility and desire to participate
- Application forms for Youthbuild and an accredited online high school
- Commitment interview to begin full-time attendance
- Work towards compensation when certain criteria are met.
Phases of Youthbuild
Pledge—A participant is acclimated to the pace, flow, and expectations of the program. Expected behaviors include attendance, respectful behavior, and positive attitude.
Trainee—A participant focuses on job skills, educational goals, communication skills, appearance, and overall demeanor.
Apprentice—A participant is paid a training stipend, demonstrates outstanding performance on the construction site, and receives the GED or high school diploma.
Crew leader—A participant takes on more responsibility, serving as a crew leader on the construction site and a mentor to others in the Youthbuild program.
Sojo Eco Community Recycling Center
The Sojo Eco Community Recycling Center is a social enterprise of Sojourners that offers a service to the region, while providing real life training to members of our Youthbuild AmeriCorps program. The center accepts traditional recyclable items and buys scrap metal from members of the community. Some items deemed “too nice to scrap” are offered to buyers through social media and in a show room in the Sojourners Training Center. Youthbuild AmeriCorps members run the recycling center, learning fiscal, public relations, and logistic arts skills. All proceeds from Sojo Eco Community Recycling Center support the youth development programs of Sojourners.
Special Service Projects
Christmas Tree Collection and Wildlife Habitat Project
Cox Covered Bridge Restoration Project
Food Baskets for Veterans Project
Hope Furnace Restoration Project
(in Lake Hope State Park)
Hope Park Construction Project
(in Lake Hope State Park)
McArthur Park Amphitheater
McArthur Entrance Sign Renovation
Miners Cabin at Hocking College
Ridges Nature Trail
Tinker-Bay Covered Bridge Restoration Project
Vinton County Courthouse Gazebo and Flower Boxes
Vinton County Historical and Genealogical Society Annex Project
Vinton County Fairgrounds Signage Project
On-going Service Projects
Vinton County Red Cross Blood Drives
Care Outreach Food Pantry
Vinton County Quilt Barns Project
Conservation and Natural Resource Projects Throughout Southern Ohio
Yoctangee Park Projects in Chillicothe
Carver Community Center