II. Underlying YouthBuild Values and Philosophy

YouthBuild Statement of Philosophy

There are close to 1,00 member organizations in the YouthBuild Coalition, which is guided by the following simple statement of philosophy:

The positive energy and intelligence of young people need to be liberated and enlisted in solving the problems facing our society. Young people in poor communities want to rebuild their neighborhoods and their lives, and will do so if given the opportunity. The desire to serve, to do meaningful work which is of value to other people, is universal. Community-based organizations need to be given the resources to solve local problems and to mobilize local people, including neighborhood youth. Leadership development is a central element of effective community development and youth service.

YouthBuild Mission Statement

In 1992, the YouthBuild Directors Council, composed of the directors of seven original YouthBuild programs, met with the president of YouthBuild USA and developed the following mission statement for YouthBuild programs. This has been reaffirmed and updated at each revision by the YouthBuild USA Affiliated Network Policy Council.

The mission of YouthBuild programs is:

  1. To provide a safe, secure, and supportive environment for all socially and economically disadvantaged young adults in which:
    1. There is a profound respect for the intelligence and decision-making ability of young adults;
    2. Resources are provided to reverse the impact of past experiences that have limited the achievement of their full potential;
    3. Young adults are empowered spiritually and intellectually to make decisions and take responsibility for their lives, their families, and their communities;
    4. Young adults learn about and take pride in their individual cultural backgrounds while simultaneously learning to respect and appreciate the many diverse cultures that make up our society;
    5. Leadership development, education, and skills training are combined to prepare young adults to take advantage of existing economic opportunities, create new ones, and further their education;
    6. The importance of community service-compassion for and a genuine desire to help others-is a philosophy fostered in all young adults; and
    7. Civic engagement is encouraged in students, staff, and graduates.
  2. YouthBuild programs not only develop the capacity of young adults, but also act as a positive force for change in the larger community by:.
    1. Creating affordable housing, housing for the homeless, and facilities serving various community needs;
    2. Creating access to well-paying, long-term, meaningful jobs for young adults;
    3. Pressing for expanded resources for low-income communities and young people;
    4. Providing and developing visible role models;
    5. Stabilizing and strengthening the economic fabric of local communities through fostering entrepreneurship and individual residential home ownership; and
    6. Encouraging participation in electoral democracy through voter registration and getting out the vote.