YouthBuild PCS News
Staff Spotlight: Eugenia Reyes
Written by Brittany North | July 2019
Eugenia Reyes, also known as “Ms. E” to students and staff, has served YBPCS as a teacher for seven years. During this time, Ms. E has taught a variety of subjects, such as reading and language arts, special education, science, history, and English as a Second Language. Ms. E is committed to YBPCS because she loves the work it accomplishes for DC youth. She explains, “It is a place where staff are valuable resources to our student population. Being a teacher is a big opportunity to serve and help our students to grow and become someone better.”
Looking back on her history with YBPCS, Ms. E reflects, “Every year is an opportunity to make new memories, but I can say Mental Toughness week [the first week of the year for students joining YBPCS to get acclimated to the school] is my favorite. When I first came to YBPCS, part of Mental Toughness week included a team-building outdoor activity. We along with all the students had to go through fun group challenges. It was right then and there that we became a team and established a very strong teacher-student relationship that kept building in the classroom throughout the rest of the year. I also treasure the memories of my students who graduate and those who are no longer with us.”
Ms. E has been a teacher for 27 years and has taught at many different grade levels, including Pre-K. At YBPCS, her favorite subject to teach is the Civil Rights Movement because “As an activist, I love to teach anything related to human rights, justice, and peace.” Students learning about powerful displays of civic duty and engagement is an important cornerstone within YBPCS’ school culture.
Living in DC since 1999, Ms. E quickly learned to love her neighborhood. As she explains, “The multiculturalism in this small city is unique, and the varieties of food from all over the world is exquisite. DC became the home where I was able to stay with my family, raise my children and grandchildren, and serve my city through my career as an educator.”
YBPCS greatly appreciates the time and service teachers and staff devote to students. Ms. E has contributed astronomically to the success and personal development of many students who walk through the halls at YBPCS. Thank you, Ms. E, for your many years of contribution at YBPCS!
The Little Library Project
YBPCS celebrates AmeriCorps Week with promoting literacy throughout DC
Written by brittany North | April 2019
Every year around the second week of March, AmeriCorps celebrates its members’ commitment to serving their communities all over the United States with AmeriCorps Week. YBPCS’ State and National AmeriCorps members participated in AmeriCorps week through making a “little library” where DC community members can take free books from at any time. What is special about the YBPCS little library is that it combined YBPCS’ Transitions department, Construction department, and students’ efforts in coordinating and constructing the little library.
The little library project was planned in three stages: Building the two boxes (the upper one is for adult books and the lower one is for children’s books), putting said boxes on the wooden pole, and then painting/installation. Some experienced AmeriCorps students took the lead in completing these steps, like Dontre Tucker, who used his construction skills from what he has learned at YBPCS to properly assemble the little library boxes on the wooden pole.
There are many benefits to placing a little library outside of YBPCS’ campus. It promotes learning and literacy within among DC community members. It also shows that YBPCS is dedicated to engaging with the outer DC community and in reinforcing our students’ sense of ownership within the DC community as well.
Building and installing the little library was not the end of the project. Because of the continuous, generous donation made by the Library of Congress, YBPCS students are able to pick books to go into the little library that means something to them and that they want to share with the outer community. Students write personal notes in the books placed in the little library in order to make a stronger connection with the community member that picks up the book!
So, come by YBPCS’ campus and pick out a book day or night, rain or shine!
Pictured: Bessie Gonzalez, recent GED graduate, being tutored by DC volunteer, Katie Williams.
Written by Brittany North | March 2019
An important part of daily life at YBPCS is the tutoring program that provides one-on-one instruction to students by local volunteers in order to increase their understanding of subjects on the GED. 20+ community volunteers have been recruited to tutor YBPCS in students in GED subjects and career readiness. For example, throughout the one-hour tutoring session, a student may practice solving linear equations to learning American history with a tutor. You can also find students and volunteers working on building their resume or filling out job and college applications.
YBPCS’ tutoring program has proven to be impactful and successful in helping our students improve their scores on pre-GED assessments. From September 2018 to February 2019, 17% of YBPCS students have received a total of 65 hours of instruction from tutors. The majority or 76% of instruction involved math subjects.
YBPCS’ tutor volunteers are able to establish a consistent relationship with their student tutees as they come on to campus for tutoring sessions once to twice a week. Students enjoy this one-on-one time with their tutors because it provides a different type of learning environment than the traditional classroom setting.
YBPCS plans to keep expanding the tutoring program, and if any readers are interested in volunteering as a tutor or career coach feel free to refer to our volunteer page linked here.
YBPCS Students Making a Tangible Difference within the DC Community