The rebuilding continues in Northern California! This week our focus brings us to Redding in Shasta County. Here, HCRN and our rebuilding project VROC have partnered with the California Heritage Youth Build Academy (CHYBA) to bring young adults learning trade skills to work on our projects. This collaboration has been such a blessing to us and our homeowners here in Redding. We spoke with Lane Carlson the Career and Technical Education Director with the Redding CHYBA affiliate. Today we’re going to learn a little about their program and its goals.

The Youth Build program has over 200 affiliates across the US, and seeks to serve young adults and help to break the cycle of poverty. The program is designed to provide an environment in which young people can learn construction trade skills, leadership ability and receive an education. The Redding affiliate is also an Americorps Youth Build, which provides an additional grant for Americorps members participating in the program. The team members are between 16 and 24 years of age, with a focus on receiving their high school diplomas. CHYBA works with students and young adults who didn’t really fit in the education setting of other schools. It’s a fantastic program and creates opportunities to grow as a person while also learning a valuable trade. 

CHYBA has been working on two of our VROC homes, and will be part of those homes until completion. Carlson said, “The VROC homes have been a dream for us. It really allows the students to learn the skills.” In addition to learning skills, they’re creating relationships with their fellow team members and VROC staff.” This partnership allows a unique opportunity for students to be mentored while working on the homes of fire survivors. Team members also have the chance to meet the homeowners and bond with them. Carlson told us about one homeowner who excitedly had the team do a group photo so she could showcase it at a block party she wants to throw once her home is completed. 

VROC has been working with CHYBA since Fall of 2019. They operate in sessions that last six weeks at a time, and team members can stay on through multiple sessions. With coronavirus affecting a number of summer options, CHYBA decided to offer a special summer session. Team members work two days per week and are in a classroom the other days of the school week. Having the CHYBA teams onsite through multiple homes has given them time to learn our home designs, while also giving the team members a chance to reaffirm the new skills they’ve been learning. 

HCRN and VROC take so much pride in the work these young people are accomplishing in their own community. Being a part of building up our future volunteers and construction workers means a lot. We want to help these communities heal and giving young people the chance to be a positive influence in their own community’s recovery can help lead to stronger community support for each other during the next crisis.

As the pandemic continues, we’re modifying how we use volunteers, and will be asking for those with specific skills to reach out to us if they’re available through the end of the year. You can look over some of our COVID-19 policies here. If you’re interested and have a specific date you’re available, contact Travis Cox at [email protected]