"YouthBuild really helped me build connections and taught me the importance of networking. I used to have a hard time talking to people but the staff helped me get comfortable with myself and with having conversations.”

Chelsey, Class of 2018

Chelsey

Chelsey was falling behind in school before she found YouthBuild. “It was the end of junior year but I was still considered a sophomore. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to catch up and I didn’t want to graduate that late. I saw a poster for YouthBuild at the credit recovery school I was attending and decided to apply. What caught my attention was that I could get paid to go to school while picking up a trade. I love to work with my hands and it seemed like a great opportunity. At YouthBuild, Chelsey earned her high school diploma as well as four industry recognized credentials. “YouthBuild really helped me build connections and taught me the importance of networking. I used to have a hard time talking to people but the staff helped me get comfortable with myself and with having conversations.” Chelsey went on to complete a culinary pathway program at Roberti Community House. “I think being hands on with all of the service projects and getting the feeling of giving back really made me appreciate that type of work. I always wanted to pursue something with entrepreneurship and cooking became a passion of mine. After working in a couple of kitchens, Chelsey decided she wanted to start her own business and she started Chelsey’s Kitchen. She sells plates of food to those in the community. She has since used that business to connect with two friends, and together they have started a non-profit called L.O.V.E. (Loving Our Vecinos Everywhere). LO.V.E. is a modern organization that sustainably provides charitable assistance and resources to the homeless while also providing solutions to the environmental issue of pollution in the Chicagoland area. They have organized free school supply drives, community clean ups, and have distributed over 500 meals and hygiene bags to underserved people in the community. Chelsey uses profits from her small business to help fund her non-profit while they work to network with more donors. She was presented with the Waukegan Proud Award in recognition of her volunteer efforts and selfless service to the community. “Right now, we just received approval for our 501(c)(3) status. I want to continue giving back to my community as much as possible, especially YouthBuild. I am working to offer AmeriCorps service hours to current members so they can earn hours by volunteering with us. YouthBuild was the first choice I made on my own, and since then I’ve never looked back on making choices for myself. If anyone is hesitant to join, they should. It will benefit you in more ways that you realize so you might as well take that step.”