In a Neighborhood With Little Hope & Even Less Opportunity, This Ex-Con is Changing Futures

He was once one of them. Now he’s totally committed to helping them.

For many kids growing up in low-income neighborhoods and communities, it can be hard to see a bright future with so many odds against them.

Opportunities seem to be less likely, and finding the right people for guidance is not easy.

Robert Clark was one of those kids. He lost his mother at a young age, and unfortunately turned to the wrong people for guidance. His neighborhood had limited resources for opportunity, and as he continued down the path of destruction, his future looked like only one of two things: incarceration, or death.

By the age of 21, jail had become home for Clark. But after being released, he knew there was no way he could continue living life the way he was. He cut ties with those toxic people and found YouthBuild.

YouthBuild is a program that helps low-income kids who have dropped out of school to pursue their GED.

In between studying, they build houses for the homeless and other low-income families in their own communities.

“We discover that there is an enormous range of talent that is being locked out of society,” said Dorothy Stoneman, founder of the program. “But if the young people are given an opportunity, they will seize it.”

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The two-fold approach has kids working on developing themselves and creating a more promising future, all while doing something for other people in less-fortunate circumstances.

YouthBuild provides troubled youth a path to success with a program that gives back to the community by building affordable housing and offering continued education. A Starbucks original series.

Posted by Upworthy on Monday, September 26, 2016

YouthBuild is a source of hope, structure and expectations for youth who desperately need it.

Robert Clark is the first YouthBuild graduate to go onto found his own YouthBuild program. His passion runs deep for helping others to see opportunities out of the toxic lifestyle he once lived.

He was once one of them, now he’s totally committed to helping them.

“The early months of the YouthBuild program was a magical experience for me,” Robert said. “It introduced me to a voice that I didn’t know I had. It was the greatest lesson for me about the power of love, opportunity and expectation…they expected that I would be something. And they loved me until I learned to love myself.”

With YouthBuild, kids are served, while serving. They establish a community, they find hope and they’re given the opportunity to create their future.

Bri Lamm
Bri is an outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure. She lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese in between capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras.

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