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Local YouthBuild leaders take on national roles

Submitted photo YouthBuild North Central students William Gartmann, left, and Sharell Harmon have been elected to national posts in the program’s National Young Leaders Council.

ELKINS — Two students from YouthBuild North Central in Elkins have been elected to the program’s National Young Leaders Council.

The National Young Leaders Council is the peer-elected student leadership body for the YouthBuild USA program. Sharell Harmon, the body’s new president, and William Gartmann, the new treasurer, will serve the next three years representing YouthBuild members from 260 YouthBuild programs in 46 states, Washington, D.C., and the Virgin Islands.

Harmon is originally from Manassas, Virginia. At the age of 23, she moved her young family to Elkins and enrolled at YouthBuild North Central. At YouthBuild, she excelled in all aspects of the program and quickly found herself in leadership roles.

Harmon has served on the Young Leaders Council for three years and has been an AmeriCorps Service member for more than two years. Additionally, she has volunteered and served her community with YouthBuild, Catholic Charities and AmeriCorps Life Bridge, and is currently working with Preservation Alliance of West Virginia.

“I am proud to be able to encourage and inspire other youth to take on the challenges of their future,” Harmon said. She hopes to be a good example for her children and to create a better future for her family and all of West Virginia.

Gartmann, an Elkins native, joined YouthBuild in February to earn his diploma and further his education.

“YouthBuild helped me earn my diploma,” Gartmann said. “I could not go to culinary school without completing that first step.”

As a member of YouthBuild and AmeriCorps, Gartmann has served hundreds of hours with organizations and projects in our community, including Catholic Charities, the Randolph County Humane Society, Camp Pioneer, a tree restoration project at Old Spruce, and various efforts to support a local skate park.

Gartmann is looking forward to completing YouthBuild with an AmeriCorps education award that will assist him in pursuing his education in culinary arts.

Michelle Phares, the program manager at YouthBuild North Central, said, “I am so proud of these young people. They have dedicated hundreds of volunteer hours in our community and that work has been recognized nationally. Sharell and William have pledged many more hours of service over the next three years to improve the lives of youth across the country. It has been years since rural youth have served on the National Youth Leaders Council.”

YouthBuild is a national, nonprofit organization that assists low-income young adults in becoming responsible members in their communities by providing education, marketable job skills, and leadership training.

In addition to earning an education, job skills and leadership skills, students will have many opportunities to volunteer with various organizations and projects and to assist the Randolph County Housing Authority in building affordable housing in our community.

For more information about YouthBuild North Central, please call 304-637-9008 or visit youthbuildncwv.org.

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