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    • #29176

      Howdy! Introduce yourself to your peers.

      • Who are you?
      • What is your role at your YouthBuild and what would you be doing if you were not helping to change the trajectory of young  people in YouthBuild? A poet? An accountant?  An actor? Dream big, you are among friends.
    • #29223
      Amber Palmeri

      Hello everyone! I’m Amber, Sr. Program Manager with YouthBuild at Mile High Youth Corps in Denver. If I were not changing the trajectory of young people in YouthBuild, I would be crafting or reading all day in the cold months and gardening the rest of the year (so, nothing “career” related! 🙂

      • #29245
        Deanna Stewart

        Hi, Amber! Reading, crafting and gardening actually sounds really relaxing! I hope you can find time for these things while you’re doing great work at YouthBuild in Denver!

      • #29416
        Latonya McGee

        Hi everyone, My name is Latonya and I am the job developer at Quad YouthBuild in the beautiful city of Hammond, Louisiana. If I wasn’t working at YouthBuild, I would be fishing.

        • #29563

          Fishing??? But it is relaxing:)

      • #29446
        Zanda Miller

        I would be working with the homeless or a re-entry program.

        • #29477

          I’m also from Louisiana and love to see my home state represented! I’ll have to visit a YB down there when I visit. I hope you get some free time to go fishing now!

        • #29562

          I loved working with the homeless.  It’s very rewarding.

      • #29447
        Zanda Miller

        Hello, I’m Zanda, Case Manager and Data Technician with Pathways in Petersburg, VA. I would be working with the homeless or a re-entry program.

      • #29471
        Candace Copenhaver

        My name is Candace. I am the Healthcare Instructor here in Dayton Ohio. If I was not here changing lives, AND I had a lot of money, I would be on a horse farm with a herd of beautiful Gypsy Vanners!

      • #29669
        Erica Smith

        My name is Erica Smith and my role at YouthBuild Philly is as a Community Projects Coordinator, I also support the Workforce in the Healthcare vocational cohort.


        My dream job is working for an organization such as YouthBuild as a stay-at-home for my beautiful three children many years I am now have the wonderful opportunity to work with young people and support their success.

      • #30063
        Sherrie Kirbach

        Howdy! I live and work in the Godfrey/Alton area of Illinois. This area is located where the Mississippi River runs west to east! LOL! I am the Coordinator of our AmeriCorps members and quality control for data for both YB & AC. If not doing this – I would be traveling across the country with my hubby selling suncatchers and mushroom rock sculptures. Living like a gypsy – never knowing where I will be laying my head to rest! Playing my bass with hubby’s banjo and living free and wild!!! LOL [retirement – here I come]

    • #29244
      Deanna Stewart

      Hello! My name is Deanna Stewart. I have the pleasure of being the Service Coordinator for YouthBuild McLean County. If I were not helping to change the trajectory of young people in YouthBuild, I would certainly be a full-time actress. (Fun fact: I have a bachelor’s degree in Theatre – Acting from Illinois State University.) I love my YouthBuild family, though! I’m thankful to have found this position!

      • #29263
        Amber Palmeri

        Hi Deanna, I love this! Have you done any acting in the community (or professionally?!).

        • #29271

          Thanks again for sharing at our Community Meeting Deanna. It was also fun to hear about how you incorporated your passion for acting and theater into the program.

        • #29281
          Deanna Stewart

          Hi, Amber! I haven’t just yet! I graduated in May of 2020, right in the thick of the pandemic. During that time all of the theaters shut down, causing a huge decline in acting opportunities! I look forward to upcoming summers where I can participate in community shows! 🙂

        • #29671
          Erica Smith

          Hi Denna,

          I love that you want to be an actress if you weren’t working at YouthBuild, I think it is a great soft skill of how to emotionally connect and try and relate your own interpersonal journey. Thanks for sharing!

      • #29273
        Maria Cortez

        Hello Amber,


        It seems to me we have something in common… gardening and the passion for plants! Right on!!

      • #29426
        Z. Stone

        It’s really dope when you get to bring your other talents & hobbies to the student experience. Hope you have had that chance.

    • #29261
      Course Participant

      Hello everyone!


      I am Tamara Thompson with Mockingbird Education.  I am a former YB educator and was the Service Learning Coordinator for my YB program in Austin Texas ….this has been a few years….like 20 years–:0…

      I have the great joy of working with teachers and education programs across the country and internationally to develop educational programs for at-risk learners.  I train teachers, write curriculum, and manage various aspects of program development.

      I don’t know what I would  be doing if I wasn’t doing this….my degrees are in Wildlife and Fisheries and Biology so I certainly never planned something like Mockingbird (although thankfully I found my life work find me early…and found me in YouthBuild which was a bonus).  I am pretty fascinated by stand-up comics, writers, and photographers.  I don’t know that I would ever be brave enough to put my toe in the artistic water but I find the lives of  such people fascinating.

      Mockingbird is my work and fulfills a lot of my passion outside of work because of all the different things I get to do in Mockingbird but WHEN  I DO stop and take a breather, I take care of a house jungle of people, plants, and animals.


      • #29265
        Amber Palmeri

        Hi Tamara, your passion for your work certainly comes through in your classes. I’m looking forward to the rest of the course. Taking care of a house jungle of people, plants, and animals sounds like an adventure!

        • #29274
          Maria Cortez

          Hi Tamara… I find it very fascinating to learn where life after undergrad/grad studies leads us to. My degrees are in French and Psychology and more recently public administration. It took me some time to figure out my purpose and I am so glad that I decided to pursue social services. I find it both impactful and life changing.

        • #29316
          Virginia Hamilton

          Hi Everyone!

          Similar to you Tamara my degree is in Marine Biology. However, I have always loved education and giving back to my community, so my position as the AmeriCorps Coordinator for Project YES YouthBuild in Philadelphia is a great fit! When I am not doing my job, I love to be in nature either by the ocean or in the woods!

    • #29269

      Hello! I’m David Weatherly one of the AmeriCorps Portfolio Managers at YouthBuild USA. If I weren’t at YouthBuild USA and had no financial worries, I’d probably be a full time game master for table top roleplaying games.

    • #29270

      What’s this howdy all about? What’s next? Y’all? You’re from Upstate New York Clerico.

      • #29392
        Matt Fisher

        …and what a great game master you would be!

      • #29402
        April Smart

        Hello that is interesting, that sounds like a fun job.

      • #29478
        Samantha Adkisson

        Very cool! I never played D&D growing up but tried it out a couple years ago at my local library and had a great time. Do you play online at the moment?

      • #29670
        Erica Smith

        Hi David, that is very interesting I love the idea of immersing yourself into the joyful space of creating your own world. I hope that is something you find time to enjoy even with what I am sure is a busy schedule.

    • #29272
      Maria Cortez

      Hello! My name is Maria Cortez  and I am the Cases & Transition Coordinator at the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. If I were not changing the trajectory of the young people I serve, I would own a nursery. I am a full time plant mom and find it therapeutic to garden.

      • #29304
        Matt Clerico

        Haha…that’s not IRL Clerico, it’s Tamara putting words in my cartoon avatar’s mouth.

        • #29318
          Virginia Hamilton

          That is awesome! I am hoping to get more into gardening this year! Any tips? I want to grown some vegetables or herbs!

        • #29461
          Kelcy Brock

          I agree with Virginia! Any tips?

      • #29314

        Maria,  I love gardening!  It is just too bad that I have, as my husband calls it, a brown thumb… 🙁  lol

    • #29305
      Matt Clerico

      Hi!  This is the real world Clerico, Senior AmeriCorps Portfolio Manager at YouthBuild USA.  I have been a part of the YouthBuild Movement since 1996, when I served 2 terms as the Full Time AmeriCorps member at Albany YouthBuild in Albany, NY.  Since then I’ve held just about every job at a YouthBuild AmeriCorps program: Site supervisor, Construction Trainer, Interim Director, Compliance Manager and more!   9 years ago (today in fact) I joined YouthBuild USA’s AmeriCorps team.  I am the coach/ compliance officer for about 17 Affiliated Network programs…and somehow, the cartoon guide for this course?   Thanks for joining us!

      • #29315

        Wow Matt!!  You have some amazing experience to share with us all!  I look forward to learning from both you and Tamara!

        • #29322
          Brandy Stewart

          Hi Tamara.

          I could totally see you as a performer. Really. it isn’t too different from being an excellent educator, which you are already. Thanks!

    • #29312

      Good Afternoon everyone, my name is Cara Moraitis and I am the Office Manager for River City YouthBuild in Elizabeth City, NC.   If I wasn’t working to change the trajectory of these young people’s lives, I would be working full time around my property with my horses..   🙂   and reading.  Those two things are my passion.

      • #29481
        Ella Varney

        Hi Cara,

        Great to meet you and thanks for sharing! I would love to hear any book recommendations that you have.

    • #29319
      Virginia Hamilton

      Afternoon Everyone!

      My name is Virginia and I am the AmeriCorps Coordinator for Project YES YouthBuild in Philadelphia!

      I have been living in Florida for the past 1o years and love to be outside and this winter is killing me! Anyone with any indoor activities for winter I am looking for new hobbies!

      • #29480
        Ella Varney

        Hi Virginia,

        I hope you have been enjoying the sunshine in Philly the last couple of days! I am also living in Philly while working at YouthBuild Philly, and have loved being able to spend more time outside as it starts to feel more like Spring here.

    • #29320
      Brandy Stewart

      Hello everyone. My name is Brandy Stewart and I am the Placement Specialist at CDSA YouthBuild. I began my YouthBuild career as the Education Manager, then I transitioned to my current role right before The Covid hit! I can’t imagine doing anything else. Like most of you, I feel like this is my calling, but maybe I would be a travel and food writer in an alternate universe! I would love to see the world and experience different cultures and their food!!

      • #29425
        Z. Stone

        Travel is definitely always on the list!

    • #29327
      Miranda Valentine

      Hi, I am Miranda Valentine with Quad Area YouthBuild in Hammond, LA. I am the Program Assistant for the YouthBuild program. I would be teaching gymnastics to all ages if I was not here at YB.

      • #29403
        April Smart

        Hello, that sound like a interesting and fun job!

    • #29391
      Matt Fisher

      Hello everyone! I’m Matt, Sr. Director of AmeriCorps at YouthBuild USA in Roxbury, MA.  If I were not supporting the efforts of our YouthBuild AmeriCorps programs changing the trajectory of young people in YouthBuild, I’m not sure what’d I be doing.   I loved my previous work life of being an overnight summer camp director where I got to be my best goofy self playing with kids, mentoring young leaders and playing and singing songs around camp fires.   I could seeing returning to that life and using the outdoors as the classroom for teaching others.

    • #29424
      Z. Stone

      Peace, I am Zuri Stone, Director of Student Life from YB Philly. If I wasn’t at YB, I probably be more focused on music & giving back to the community in other ways.

    • #29459
      Kelcy Brock

      I’m the AmeriCorps success coach at Ogden Weber Tech College’s YouthBuild!
      I am currently also a graduate student pursuing a master’s in Public Administration and Policy. I plan to use this degree to continue in the realm of shaping policy to focus on equity in the same way YouthBuild does. If I weren’t doing that I would love to own a floral shop or plan events.

    • #29464


      It’s a pleasure to share in this space with you. I’m KuLena , and the newly assigned YouthBuild AmeriCorps Coordinator, at River City Community Development Center in Elizabeth City, NC.

      If I wasn’t commuting and hour each day to “Change the Trajectory” of  young people’s lives at YouthBuild in North Carolina; I’d likely be entrenched in some other form of Transformative Leadership either domestically or overseas.  Interdisciplinary Scholarship ( History, Sociology, Linguistics &The Afrikan Diaspora) has shaped a multitude of personal and professional experiences. Equally significant, are experiences as a National Service Alumna.

      When Art + Activism = Artivism, I celebrate.  Crafting and books are often commonplace. I scrap with burlap. As a  native “Michigander” & “Water-Baby”, revitalization is always key. Love the Mid-Atlantic, Southwest and Central Southern Region, regions where I can Swim & Toast…Near A Coast!  In a different context, that’s where you might find me.

    • #29530
      Alexandra Blockton

      I am currently a full-time Teacher’s Aide AmeriCorps Member and I would still be a student in which I am currently a student now. But if I was not a Full-Time Teacher’s Aide AmeriCorps Member I would more than likely take on more courses at once. Overall, I enjoy my role and I love my YouthBuild students they are awesome! (I am working towards my last GED test which is Math. I plan to have completed my GED Diploma June 2021.)

    • #29561

      Hi, my name is Toni, I am the case manager at Quad YouthBuild. I would be doing something to help people if I was not doing YouthBuild or a business owner

    • #29578
      Casey Jones

      Hey y’all,

      My name is Casey and I’m an academic instructor at Quad YouthBuild in Hammond, LA. I would like to be an urban farmer one day. Urban farming as in having cows, chickens, pigs, etc., in the middle of a big city.

      • #29579
        Casey Jones

        That’s awesome!

    • #29658
      Rachel Harris

      Hello, YouthBuild AmeriCorps family!

      My name is Rachel.  I have served as the Program Coordinator for CDSA YouthBuild since 2017.  If I wasn’t working with youth, I would love working with animals!

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