Tilly, 17 years old, missed months of school due to battling a debilitating case of depression. She describes feeling so overwhelmed by it that while at school she would have to leave classes. She eventually exited high school early.

After some time of self-reflection, Tilly decided she wanted more from life. That’s when she found YDI’s#YouthBuild program.

She applied to YDI YouthBuild and earned a spot in the program by completing a two week Mental Toughness program. She began to prepare for her High School Equivalency and learning new Construction trade skills. While she still struggled, the YDI YouthBuild staff helped her through every step of the way. Tilly describes a moment when she wanted to leave the YDI YouthBuild program. She was feeling overwhelmed by a home situation and a simple care & hygiene package given to her by YouthBuild Career Adviser Bruce Nieto helped get her head back into the game.

“This guy!” she exclaimed as she talked about her experience with YouthBuild and pointed Bruce out to the audience. “This guy showed me that there are good people in the world, that people do care.”

During the YouthBuild program Tilly earned her High School Equivalency diploma, a construction PACT (Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training) credential in Building Construction Technology, PACT Core, and Carpentry. Tilly also earned an OSHA 10 Occupational Safety, First Aid, CPR, and Blood Bourne Pathogen certifications. 

Currently, Tilly is employed at the Albuquerque Sign Language Academy as an Art Class Teaching Assistant.

“The greatest feeling is seeing these young people make it through their hardships and come out with their head held high.” Said Lawrence Chavez, YDI YouthBuild Program Manager.

YDI YouthBuild has served 83 young people during the current grant cycle.