Twenty-four participants graduated from the Gainesville chapter of Project Youthbuild Americorps on Thursday, Dec. 4.
Youthbuild, which the Institute for Workforce Innovation operates, serves young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who have dropped out of high school.
The participants face many challenges. Seventy percent are parents, and 60 percent have been involved with the criminal justice system, said Carrie Tam, the institute’s chief program officer.
For Devin Delancy, his life turned upside down when his mother, Pamela, died in January 13. “I was angry and I had trouble focusing,” he said. “My grades had been good, but they slipped, and I moved to Miami.”
Devin’s sister, Kimberly, told him about Youthbuild and helped him enroll. Devin spoke at the graduation. “Once I started, I couldn’t stop,” he said. “I learned that when things are going bad, you have to have hope.”