Overall, the IDHS YouthBuild program in Illinois is but a piece of a much larger network of programs and providers. IDHS YouthBuild funding supplements a small number of existing, federally funded YouthBuild programs in Illinois. These programs
combine federal, state and local resources to serve disadvantaged youth in Illinois. This, in turn, also means that youth are often duly enrolled in programs from multiple funding streams and it is often difficult to distinguish IDHS funded youth from
others. This is due, in large part, to the fact that IDHS grant allocations to providers are not sufficient to sustain the services, activities and building materials necessary to fully implement the program. The IDHS grant funds are intended only to
supplement, and not to fully fund, these programs.
As can be seen in the State Funded YouthBuild Providers section above, each of the programs have been very successful developing partnerships, securing volunteers, bringing in local community resources to the program as well as securing state and
federal funding. However, where they are most successful is in keeping the youth engaged and committed to bettering their lives.
- In 2007, Illinois YouthBuild programs served 149 youth at an average cost to IDHS of $1,816 per youth. (This figure represents IDHS funds only and does not accurately reflect the total program cost per youth served.)
- Programs maintain an 85% attendance rate while fewer than 25% of youth dropped out of the program prematurely.
- Forty-eight percent of all enrollees obtained either their High School diploma or their GED certificate while in the program.
- Sixty percent of all enrollees had gained employment upon program completion.
- A total of 12 new homes were built for low-income families, 11 homes were remodeled and 4 wheelchair ramps were built in local communities.
- The YouthBuild programs have also been very successful at improving both math and reading levels for enrolled youth. A goal of the programming is to increase both the reading and math levels for identified youth by at least two grade levels while
Again, the above achievements cannot be attributed to IDHS funding alone, however, it is necessary to recognize that IDHS funds are an integral and vital piece of the funding stream that sustains these invaluable programs. Without it, fewer youth will
have this wonderful opportunity to get their life on track, become valuable, productive citizens, and achieve the self-sufficiency necessary to support their families. The following is a testimonial to this:
(In her own words….)
"Once upon a time I was mixed up, messed up, confused young soul. I had no idea where I was going to go in life as it seemed that my options had run out. I came to realize that I have wasted a lot of valuable time for what I thought was a lack of
opportunities. I have two children and nothing else to my name, but they are surely enough to make me decide to get up and do something for myself. I dropped out of school in my junior year and everything was downhill from there. It was hard to get a job
for lack of a diploma or GED, not to mention the extremely low sense of self-worth. I heard of YouthBuild one day and decided it was worth a try. I entered into the program and attended the orientation process on October 22, 2007. I was invited to become
a member of the program on November 5, 2007. Since the start of YouthBuild, because of the tremendous amount of support and the family-like atmosphere, not only have I successfully completed the academic aspect and obtained my GED, but I have also gained
a sense of self-worth and determination. For me, the program was my last option, I had to make the best of it, and I did. The persistence in the staff is overwhelming at times but certainly well worth it. YouthBuild made me realize that this isn't the
end of the road but only the beginning. I obtained my GED on February 22, 2008, and since then I have registered and begun attending classes at Rockford Business College in their Business Administration and Accounting course. Never in a million years
would I have ever dreamed that I, Christina Jackson, was capable enough to accomplish these things, but because a program such as YouthBuild exists I was given a second chance at life. YouthBuild has become my second family. My goal after I graduate from
YouthBuild is to finish my college career and come back to YouthBuild as their accountant. I contribute a large part of my success to YouthBuild Rockford and all its staff because if not for them keeping that one door open and giving me that one last
chance I wouldn't be the bright, cheerful soul I am today. YouthBuild is well worth everything put into it because I am an example of what comes out of it."
Christina Jackson (25)