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6/1/2016 Senate passes Pichardo bill that would authorize creation of YouthBuild Preparatory Academy
STATE HOUSE — The Rhode Island Senate has passed legislation introduced by Sen. Juan M. Pichardo (D-Dist. 2, Providence) that would authorize the creation of a YouthBuild Preparatory Academy in Pawtucket and Central Falls.

The bill (2016-S 2867A) would authorize the cities of Providence and Central Falls to create an alternative academy for students having difficulty in traditional public school settings.

“There are many students at risk for failure who need the extra help that YouthBuild Academies can give them,” said Senator Pichardo. “These schools give a special focus on the diverse needs of urban students, creating an environment for individual growth, and cultivating social and emotional development.”

YouthBuild programs give low-income young people who have fallen off the edges of society the opportunity to transform their own lives, get back on track to adult responsibility, and give back to their communities.

Under the legislation, Pawtucket and Central Falls would be authorized “to offer a rigorous and relevant standards-driven experiential learning community, and to provide college and career preparatory education based on guided, project-based core curriculum with an emphasis on education, human services, and community development.”

Each year about 10,000 low-income young people who have left high school without a diploma enroll full-time in YouthBuild Programs for about 10 months. They spend at least 50 percent of their time, usually alternate weeks, in caring academic classrooms, and at least 40 percent in hands-on job training building affordable housing or other community assets. A strong emphasis is placed on creating a safe and caring community of adults and peers committed to each other’s success.

“We’ve seen the success of this organization through YouthBuild Providence,” said Senator Pichardo. “The opportunities that are offered to at-risk students has had such a positive impact on the community, the time has come to extend the program to the youth of Pawtucket and Central Falls.”

The legislation, which is cosponsored by Senators Elizabeth A. Crowley (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket), Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence), Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick) and Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), now heads to the House, where similar legislation (2016-H 8113) has been introduced by Rep. Jean Philippe Barros (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket).

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903