Project REBUILD, Inc. was created as a not-for-profit 501c3 in July 1999. Project REBUILD’s mission is to re-engage at-risk youth to complete a high school diploma or GED and acquire marketable skills in construction technologies through the rehabilitation or construction of affordable housing. Project REBUILD is a YouthBuild U.S.A. affiliate and uses the YouthBuild model as the basis for our program. Therefore, a typical youth in our program is between 16 and 24 yrs. of age, comes from a single-parent or foster household, lives below the poverty level, has not completed their education and has sometimes had prior involvement with the court system. To “build the youth”, Project REBUILD operates a construction training program that utilizes the P.A.C.T. (Pre Apprenticeship Certificate Training though the Home Builders Institute) certification, that can be completed by each student when they pass competency levels. Through the practicality of learning a trade, Project REBUILD helps students develop constructive vocational skills and dependable workplace habits, forming a framework for self-dependency. By working together to refurbish neglected area properties and through the creation of low and moderate income housing units, youth also learn the importance of helping each other and members of their community. The program was also created to involve the not-for-profit, government, educational, and business sectors in a partnership to minimize the economic dependency and the incarceration of young people. In doing so, Project REBUILD serves some of the most disenfranchised youth in Stark County. However, through the youth’s involvement in this program, more than 40 major rehabilitative and/or new build projects have been completed within Stark County, with a majority within the Canton community. Currently, Project REBUILD participants are working in collaboration with Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority on homes in the City of Canton on the NSP neighborhood revitalization efforts.
Another core programming requirement of being a YouthBuild affiliate is community service. Involving our students in such projects helps them understand the “pay it forward” mantra that we consistently reinforce and that their efforts have a lasting effect on the community where they and their families live. All our efforts are directed with the ultimate goal that our students become educated, working, productive contributors to the community.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Project REBUILD is once again partnering with the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce to involve the Canton Community Garden located on Fifth St. NW, (just east of Shorb Ave) in an educational, healthy foods project. Along with Project REBUILD student’s responsibility of planting, maintaining and harvesting produce from that garden location (it is one block from our facility), we will also be responsible for the entire operation of the garden, acting as the garden coordinator. We plan to use the gardening opportunity to educate Project REBUILD students and Summit neighborhood youth on the health benefits of fresh produce and the positive environmental impact of growing and consuming local foods. We also plan to make outreach efforts into the neighborhood by building a community bulletin board at the garden to let residents know of healthy eating/growing educational programs that are available. Additionally, we hope to harvest enough produce so that the youth involved in this project can donate some produce to the food bank and/or other community food resource centers in Canton. We plan to involve 10 students and 20 neighborhood youth in this program.
EMBODY THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING: We believe that this program does fill a gap in the community, SPECIFICALLY IN THE Summit neighborhood where the poverty rate exceeds 75% of the residents in that area. Many studies indicate the need for more healthy living and eating education with families that are at or below the median poverty line. In addition to the education that we’re providing to the young people involved, it’s also an opportunity for them to share with their families the value of healthy eating tips and foods and perhaps inspire their families to have their own garden the next year. We believe this project embodies the “gift that keeps on giving” theme through the educational impact of healthier eating and living that the children in this particular neighborhood so desperately need.