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Columbia, Missouri

Job Point’s YouthBuild

Job Point’s YouthBuild program empowers young people in their community to work toward their goals and move beyond their barriers while earning their HiSET and learning employability skills. 

Each year, Job Point’s YouthBuild partners with Missouri River Relief to spend a day on the Missouri River. This initiative introduces the students to the majesty of the Missouri River and the importance of conservation and spending time in nature.

First and foremost, students in Job Point’s YouthBuild work on learning more about who they are as individuals, how they learn best, and what things bring them joy and make them feel motivated. Before YouthBuild can help them learn anything, they aim to first build bonds.

At Job Point’s YouthBuild, students earn their HiSET and have the option of pursuing one of two programs: Highway Maintenance and Repair (our DOL-Recognized Apprenticeship Program) or Intermediate Construction Trades (Carpentry). In both programs, young people have the opportunity to complete on-the-job training as well as classroom study. They complete real world projects, often for community members or other organizations. Job Point’s YouthBuild wants these young people to walk away knowing that they have the power and skills to change their lives – and their community —for the better.

When students walk through the doors for the first time, the staff knows that they aren’t just here to get their HiSET. They are there to move past the barriers in their lives, confront their individual challenges to learning, and find confidence in themselves. They are there to equip young people with the tools they need to succeed academically and in their lives. They know that a person who has respect for themselves, confidence in their abilities, and a knowledge of how they can be a force for good will go on to do great things for themselves, their families, and their community. They believe that there is great power in harnessing the spirit of the whole person. To achieve this, they encourage participants to get involved in a wide variety of projects in and outside of the classroom.

One example of this is their ongoing partnership with Missouri River Relief. Each year, they partner with this organization to spend a day on the Missouri River —cleaning up trash, learning about the many ways to enjoy the outdoors and conserve nature in our own community.

For some participants, this is their first time seeing the river up close and even being on a boat. They are always in awe of the power and beauty of the river.

“We went on a trip to the river and we were riding on the boat to pick up trash and we also painted,” said current YouthBuild participant Nik Harvey. “I thought it was a good release of stress and a fun way to let go and be able to be myself. It was the first time in a while that I felt free and happy.”

Going into the day, many admit being a little intimidated by the vastness of the river and were even a little hesitant about getting on the boats. But, after going through a little safety training and securing their lifejackets, everyone eagerly loaded up and embarked on their first mission.

Volunteers from across the community joined our young people and together they pulled two refrigerators, a door, and dozens of other random objects from the shoreline. Getting to help clean up the river throughout the day gave them a deep sense of pride and respect for how we can all participate in making our community better.

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