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Overcoming Obstacles to Lead and Inspire in Buffalo

When Todd Timmons became the victim of an act of violence, his education fell to the wayside, but with the proper tools and access to opportunity, his path to a bright future has never been clearer.

Growing up in a poverty-stricken neighborhood on the east side of Buffalo, New York, traditional schooling was difficult for Todd Timmons. He was diagnosed with ADHD, making it hard to function or address social anxieties, and he eventually dropped out at the age of 16.


After receiving his GED at the age of 19, Todd began to lay out plans for his future. He applied to the Building Management and Maintenance program at Erie Community College. But in an act of violence just before his classes started, Todd was an innocent bystander in a shootout that left a bullet in his hip. As a result of the aftermath and subsequent recovery, Todd dropped out of college.


Then, he found YouthBuild. He gained various professional certifications to become a security guard and begin a career in construction. After a short time in the program, he was unanimously elected president of the Student Council ad elected to the Young Leaders Council of YouthBuild USA, where he served as a voice for Western New York YouthBuild at a national level.


Todd’s construction instructor helped him join Emerging Leaders, a social justice and professional development program that teaches young people about municipality government and how to effect change on behalf of youth throughout the region. He received the Spirit of Service Award as the YouthBuild AmeriCorps 2018 National Member of the Year.

My time with YouthBuild has been a life-changing experience,” said Todd. “I’ve become a more effective leader for my peers, my family, and most importantly, my community. Since graduating, I am now a full-time AmeriCorps Member, working as an Assistant Construction Supervisor. This gives me the opportunity to lead a construction site while teaching hands-on construction skills.

Todd’s future, once uncertain, is brighter than ever.


“I’m looking forward to growing with YouthBuild and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me here in Buffalo.”


Learn more about Western New York YouthBuild.

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