|Students from Heart of Oregon Corps YouthBuild Selected to Attend National Leadership ConferenceTwo local youth joined movement of motivated young people in Washington D.C. at Annual YouthBuild USA AmeriCorps Conference of Young LeadersBend, OR, November 13, 2023 — William Clements and Ryan Lewis, students at Heart of Oregon Corps YouthBuild, were selected to join more than 50 other young leaders in Washington, D.C. at the 35th Annual YouthBuild USA AmeriCorps Conference of Young Leaders (CoYL) during the week of October 23rd. Through CoYL, YouthBuild AmeriCorps students are brought together to fully experience the breadth and impact of YouthBuild’s global movement rooted in leadership, service, education, and job skills training. Participants further develop their leadership skills and network with current and former students from YouthBuild programs across the country. Heart of Oregon Corps YouthBuild is one of 223 local programs across the U.S. that partner with opportunity youth — young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor employed — to build the skillsets and mindsets that lead to lifelong learning, livelihood and leadership. Throughout the three-day conference, participants explored this year’s theme, “Connecting Communities,” as they broadened their skills and deepened their knowledge to create positive change in their communities. The young people shared their experiences with each other and participated in collaborative, interactive workshops on design thinking and asset-based storytelling. By building connections with each other and YouthBuild alumni, participants realized the critical role they play in the extensive, global YouthBuild network and brainstormed concrete actions they can take to change their communities for the better. Participants like Clements and Lewis are chosen to attend by their fellow students and local YouthBuild program staff. “YouthBuild students are the leaders of today and tomorrow,” said John Valverde, president and CEO of YouthBuild USA. “When they are shown the breadth and depth of the entire YouthBuild movement during our Conference of Young Leaders, it can be life changing. Our communities need these young leaders who are full of promise, and — when given the opportunity coupled with support from caring adults — they will go on to do great things.” “Our Conference of Young Leaders shows young people that they are part of something larger than themselves. It gives them the confidence that they have the skillsets, mindsets and partners to return home and make a significant impact on their communities,” said Valverde, who addressed the students at the conference. “The Heart of Oregon Corps YouthBuild program connects local Opportunity Youth ages 16-24 to education and employment as they learn construction or child and youth development skills and serve their communities,” said Kristen Martin, YouthBuild Program Director at Heart of Oregon Corps. “I’m pretty sure I will remember this experience for the rest of my life,” said Lewis when asked to reflect on his time at CoYL. In YouthBuild programs, opportunity youth pursue their education, prepare for future careers and grow into community leaders, building brighter futures for themselves and their neighborhoods. Responding to the urgent need for knowledge, training, and opportunity, YouthBuild primarily serves young people who lack a high school diploma and financial resources.