YouthBuild North Central Mentor Group luncheon set

ELKINS — YouthBuild North Central has recently begun a mentor group comprised of alumni who have completed its program.

As part of an effort to encourage more former students to get involved with the mentor group, there will be an open invitation for alumni to attend a free luncheon Dec. 14 at the YouthBuild offices located at 300 Boundary Ave. in Elkins. Lunch will include chili, potato salad and drinks at noon. The luncheon will begin with a short time for socializing followed by a presentation discussing the goal of the mentor group followed by questions and comments and lunch afterwards.

The goal of YouthBuild is to give young out-of school adults ages 16-24 the tools to get a good job and keep it. TASC (GED) preparation and testing is a key component of the program and additional training such as computer-skills, OHSHA and CPR are also offered. Students earn money while in the classroom and also working on projects such as building low-income housing and projects throughout the community including volunteering at the Humane Society, Davis Medical Center, Catholic Charities and the Public Library. YouthBuild works to develop the capacity of young adults to be responsible by strengthening their educational backgrounds, teaching marketable skills and instilling leadership values.

The YouthBuild North Central Mentor Group started in August. Since then, former students have given presentations to the current class to talk about their experiences at YouthBuild North Central and have assisted in planning and recruiting other alumni. The stated goal of the group is to build a lasting relationship with and inspire all YouthBuild students and alumni.

Michelle Phares, director of YouthBuild North Central explained, “This mentor Group could have a meaningful and positive impact not only for our current AmeriCorps crew and alumni, but for the communities that they live in and serve. I hear from graduates that ‘Once in YouthBuild, always in YouthBuild’ and graduates frequently look for a way to build a lasting relationship and continue the positive experience they had while enrolled. I’m looking forward to what this group will accomplish working together.”

A Facebook page, YouthBuild North Central WV Mentor Group, was recently created with the aim for former students to stay connected, and encourage others to join the group and learn about upcoming events and activities. Former YouthBuild student and mentor group member Sharell Harmon said, “I think it’s important that every person have a mentor, especially our youth- they’re our future and it’s up to us to make sure they are ready for the world and that they know how to take care of their life, their family and their community.”

For more information about YouthBuild or the mentor group and luncheon, call the office at 304-637-9008 or email Josh Wanstreet at, currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at YouthBuild North Central.