Jessi Glanz, second from right, traveled to Washington, DC. for leadership development.
Jessi Glanz, second from right, traveled to Washington, DC. for leadership development.
A Sisters Heart of Oregon YouthBuild student was selected to join more than 80 other young leaders in Washington, D.C., to further develop their leadership skills and network with current and former students from YouthBuild programs across the country. Jessi Glanz from Sisters participated in the 31st annual YouthBuild USA AmeriCorps Conference of Young Leaders (CoYL) in the beginning of June.

The YouthBuild USA AmeriCorps Conference of Young Leaders brings together young people from across the country to fully experience the breadth and impact of YouthBuild’s global movement rooted in leadership, service, education and workforce training. The young people shared their experiences with each other and participated in workshops on understanding substance abuse and its impact on long-term success, building healthy relationships, developing financial capability skills, identifying leadership styles and personal branding. Delegates like Glanz are chosen to attend by their fellow students and local YouthBuild program

staff.

“YouthBuild students are full of promise and—when given the opportunity coupled with support from caring adults—they can go on to do great things,” said John Valverde, CEO of YouthBuild USA, who addressed the students at the conference. “Our Conference of Young Leaders shows young people that they are part of something larger than themselves. It gives them the confidence that they have the skillsets, mindsets and partners to return home and make a significant impact on their communities.”

A new addition to the conference this year was the Service Impact Fair, where students highlighted their service to community through pictures, videos and stories during a science-fair-style event. The presentations told the story of the service they provided, the impact they’ve had on their community and what they learned during their time at YouthBuild.  

“The best part of going to CoYL was meeting amazing youth builders from around the United States,” said Glanz. “Everyone was so welcoming and caring. I now have more courage to follow my dreams and do what makes me happy. CoYL really made me feel like I found a place where I belong. I learned so much in four days, and I’ll never forget it.”

Heart of Oregon YouthBuild is one of 252 local programs across the U.S. that help unemployed and out-of-school young people ages 16 to 24 attain their High School Equivalency (HSE) or high school diploma. During that time, they also learn career skills by building affordable housing and other community assets in their neighborhoods while engaging in community service and leadership

training. Graduates leave prepared for success in post-secondary education, careers

and registered apprenticeships—and as a part of a strong and supportive global community.