PALMDALE – The young men and women of Antelope Valley YouthBuild have been hard at work for past year transforming a blighted Palmdale property into a community asset.
“This is our young people controlling their legacy, building this project for their own purpose,” said Executive Director and Founder Rossie Johnson.
Once completed, the half-acre property at 38518 5th Street East, will serve as Antelope Valley YouthBuild’s Supportive Housing Site.
“We’re going to house approximately 19 to 20 young people here who are homeless and trying to do right in life, who might need a little bit of extra help to get to the next level,” Johnson said. “They’ll be living here rent free, and the only thing they have to do is invest in their education and in their own personal lives.”
The project is expected to be completed and the doors open in about two months, Johnson said. AV YouthBuild is now calling on the entire community to help support the Supportive Housing Site.
How you can help
The Supportive Housing Site is in need of household items to furnish eight bedrooms, four bathrooms, two kitchens, two living rooms, two community rooms and one laundry room.
Businesses or individuals may “adopt” a room by purchasing the items needed to furnish and decorate the room of their choosing.
“Because we’re nonprofit, donations could be a tax write off,” Johnson said.
He said they’re also looking for residents to donate their time.
“We need mentors to serve the young folks on this program,” Johnson said. “We’re always talking about young people needing to invest in something positive; now they need our support to invest in them.”
Antelope Valley YouthBuild is a youth and community development program that offers an accredited high school diploma and hands-on occupational training in Construction, Wildland Fire Technology, Nursing Assistant and Solar Technology installation through various partners to low-income youth, ages 16-24.
Participants spend six to 24 months in the full-time program, dividing their time between construction and the YouthBuild alternative school. Participants serve their communities by building affordable housing, and transforming their own lives and roles in society.
Bredell Rogers said AV YouthBuild gave him hope for a better future, after he dropped out of high school and became a young father.
“The program helped me in finding a path of where I want to go and what I want to do with my life,” Rogers said. “I’m actually a fulltime student at Antelope Valley College now and I do part-time work for a company called ACT. We go around and pick up illegal dumping in the city of Palmdale.”
When 19-year-old Francisco Gonzalez was kicked out of Eastside High for fighting, AV YouthBuild took him in.
“They opened their arms to me and I opened up to them and they really helped me a lot,” Gonzalez said. “People overlook us and it’s almost like they’ve lost hope in us, but this program is making a huge difference in this community and it’s transforming our lives.”
Tommy Landeros said he would most likely be in jail or dead by now, were it not for the support of the Antelope Valley YouthBuild program.
“I was rolling around with the wrong crowd, doing drugs, and then I went to jail, came out, and got into the program,” Landeros said. “This program completely changed my life around. People should donate and give back to this program because this program gives back to the community.”
For more information on how you can help support or donate to AV YouthBuild’s Supportive Housing Site, contact Rossi Johnson at 661-266-8900 or visit www.avyouthbuild.com.
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