Youth Services

Brianna’s Story

As the oldest of eight siblings, Brianna Ingram knows a thing or two about responsibility and hard work. Growing up with little financial stability, drug dealing was a source of income for Brianna’s parents who had limited educations, which led to a childhood in and out of foster care in multiple states.

Foster care showed Brianna a different way of living. “After seeing how other people did it, stability was something I strived for,” she says. She wanted to break the cycle of poverty. She wanted to be a woman to be reckoned with.

Upon returning to Indy, a cousin introduced Brianna to YouthBuild Indy, a local program that is based on a national model focused on providing job skills, life skills, and an opportunity to earn a high school equivalency (HSE) diploma. She was intimidated, but welcomed. “They just hugged me on the first day … YouthBuild Indy is not a program or a company; it’s a family.”

For Brianna, Youthbuild Indy not only provided her the opportunity and support she had been lacking, but it also led her to the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program, which she credits for providing her the soft skills and confidence to find and retain a job. Through connections at YouthBuild Indy, she started as a part-time brand ambassador with WorkHere, an app developer that connects job seekers to employers. At age 19, she has her HSE, has worked her way into a full-time position at WorkHere, and even bought her own car. She is currently on a one-year scholarship at Ivy Tech in their IvyWorks software development program, and plans to continue beyond that toward her degree.

In Brianna's Words

In Brianna's Words

“If I am ever in the position, I would invest personally in YouthBuild. Because of the connection they made with me, I reach out all the time, still.”
Youth Build Indy
Project Indy
JAG Indiana

Bethany’s Story

When Bethany was in eighth grade, she was diagnosed with leukemia and spent the majority of the year in and out of Riley Children’s Hospital. When she was better, she and her parents began an outreach group to invest in the community. However, because of this difficult time in her life, Bethany was very shy and did all she could to fly under the radar – especially at school.

During her sophomore year, she was introduced to Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG). Immediately she was intrigued by the volunteer opportunities available through JAG and its focus on graduating high school and learning how to explore and invest in a future career. The next year, Bethany joined JAG and almost immediately was elected to be in charge of increasing civil awareness for their program at Decater Central High School. She loved this new responsibility because it gave her a sense of purpose and importance, knowing she was making an impact.

Bethany was elected to be the president of JAG her senior year and had the amazing opportunity to connect JAG specialists with students. She also had the opportunity to job shadow an ENT, which quickly changed her mind on what she had originally dreamed for her career pathway. During the job shadow, she transferred to shadowing a nurse and felt like she found her calling. She says that learning to be confident, speak up for herself, and speak confidently in crowds, are the biggest impacts JAG has had on her life.

Now Bethany is planning on going to Ivy Tech for two years and transferring to IUPUI, where she hopes to work at a power plant so she can use the EMT certification she earned through the JAG program. Her new dream job is to become a trauma nurse technician where she can be in the room during the surgeries.

In Bethany's Words

In Bethany's Words

“My junior year, I was elected to be in charge of civic awareness which gave me a sense that I am important and making an impact. It allowed me to focus on other people while also focusing on school work. It was a completely judgement free zone. The specialists would explain it to you- no one got left behind in JAG.”

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