Phoenix’s youth reconnect with their futures


>> Ted Simons: PHOENIX HAD THE HIGHEST
NUMBER OF DISCONNECTED YOUTH IN
THE COUNTRY AMONG LARGE CITIES
BACK IN 2010. 100-THOUSAND YOUNG
PEOPLE NOT IN SCHOOL AND NOT
WORKING. BUT THAT NUMBER HAS
DROPPED 26 PERCENT OVER THE PAST
7-YEARS. PRODUCER SHANA FISCHER
AND PHOTOGRAPHER ROB MCJANNET
FOUND A PROGRAM HELPING THESE
YOUNG PEOPLE REBUILD THEIR
LIVES. THIS STORY IS PART OF OUR
CONTINUING SERIES ON POVERTY AND
OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA, CHASING
THE DREAM.
>> MAKE THAT HAMMER WORK FOR
YOU.
>> AT THE YOUTHVILLE
HEADQUARTERS IN PHOENIX, DREAMS
ARE UNDER CONSTRUCTION.
YOUTH BUILD IS AN ORGANIZATION
THAT HELPS DISCONNECTED YOUTH
GET THEIR GED AND AT THE SAME
TIME LEARN CONSTRUCTION SALES.
THIS OFFER JAKE SAID IS A WAY UP
AND A WAY OUT.
>> GROWING UP IN THAT TYPE OF
ENVIRONMENT WASN'T NECESSARILY
ALL THAT WELL.
IT WASN'T TOO MUCH GOING AROUND.
I MIND SAY DRUGS WAS GOING
AROUND.
GANGS, VIOLENCE, NARCOTICS ALL
AROUND.
>> RAISED BY A SINGLE FATHER
AFTER HIS MOTHER LEFT THE
FAMILY, JACOB AND HIS FIVE
SIBLINGS STRUGGLED.
>> YOU WANT FOOD SO YOU GO OUT
THERE AND TRY TO FIND OUR OWN
TYPE OF MONEY AND OWN TYPE OF
ENTERTAINMENT.
>> JACOB NEVER FINISHED HIGH
SCHOOL.
HE HAD A HARD TIME FINDING WORK.
HE WAS NEARLY HOMELESS AND READY
TO GIVE UP.
UNTIL HE HEARD ABOUT AN
ORGANIZATION CALLED ACYR OR
ARIZONA CENTER FOR YOUTH
RESOURCES.
>> NOW I HAVE SOMETHING TO GIVE
BACK TO MY COMMUNITY.
>> ACRY HELPS DISCONNECTED YOUTH
LIKE ALGEBRAB WITH EDUCATION,
CAREER PATH, AND JOB SKILLS
PROGRAMS LIKE YOUTH BUILD.
>> IT IS A GREAT PROGRAM.
>> Reporter: ON MONDAYS, ACYR
HOLDS INFORMATIVE MEETINGS
INSIDE THIS STARBUCKS.
THE SEATTLE-BASED COFFEE GIANT
BUILD THIS MEETING ROOMS AND
GROUPS LIKE THIS USE IT AS AN
OUTPOST.
>> THE PROGRAM ALLOWS US TO MEET
WITH YOUNG PEOPLE HERE, HELP
THEM WITH ASSESSMENTS AND SKILL
BUILDING AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT
PLANS.
WE PROVIDE CAREER SKILLS
TRAINING FOR THEM WHERE THEY CAN
LEARN ABOUT RESUMES AND
INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES.
>> CHARLOTTE BARNET IS THE CEO
AND SAYS PHOENIX IS A HOT BED
FOR DISCONNECTED YOUTH.
LACKING BASIC SKILLS AND
SUPPORT, BARNET SAYS THIS GROUP
FACES ENORMOUS BARRIERS.
>> THE ROLE OF POVERTY KICKS IN
WITH OUR YOUNG PEOPLE.
UNFORTUNATELY, YOU KNOW, IT IS
CYLICAL.
STUDIES SHOW PARENT'S EDGEUCATIO
LEVELS ARE REPEATED IN
CHILDREN'S EMPLOYMENT, AND
POVERTY AND WE CAN KEEP GOING.
>> THIS IS A LEADER OF THE
SESSIONS.
>> IT IS A GREAT PROGRAM I
GRADUATED FROM 2-3 YEARS AGO.
>> Reporter: HE IS PASSIONATE
ABOUT THE PROGRAM AND HAS GOOD
REASON.
A FORMER GANG MEMBER AND FELON
HE WAS ON A SELF-DESTRUCTIVE
PATH WITH NO END.
>> ONCE I WENT TO PRISON MY
MENTALITY CHANGED AND I SAID
THIS IS NOT MY LIFE AND WHERE I
WANT TO FINISH AND STOP.
>> Reporter: FELIX CREDITS ACYR
WITH HELPING HIM FIND HIS
FOOTING.
HE GOT HIS GED AND JOINED THE
YOUTH BUILD.
>> YOUTH BUILD HELPED ME.
NOW IN MY COMMUNITY I HAVE
RESOURCES TO BE ABLE TO TAKE
BACK TO MY FRIENDS.
>> Reporter: HE DID SO WELL IN
THE PROGRAM AND WAS SUCH A
POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON THE OTHER
YOUTH, CHARLOTTE FELT FELIX
COULD REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
>> THE AGENCY EVENTUALLY HIRED
ME.
>> Reporter: THERE IS NOTHING
LIKE ANOTHER YOUNG PERSON WHO
HAS BEEN THERE WITH THOSE YOUNG
PEOPLE THAT CAN TRULY TELL THEM
THAT IT IS POSSIBLE.
THAT THERE ARE WAYS TO MOVE
FORWARD EVEN IF THEY FEEL LIKE
THEY KEEP GETTING KNOCKED DOWN.
>> Reporter: THESE KIDS GET
KNOCKED DOWN A LOT.
IT IS ESTIMATED ARIZONA HAS
18,000 DISCONNECTED YOUTH AND
THEY WILL COST THE STATE $7
BILLION OVER THEIR LIFE TIME
MUCH OF THAT IS DUE TO ECONOMIC
INSECURITY, LOW WAGE JOBS AND
RELYING ON GOVERNMENT
ASSISTANCE.
ONE WAY TO STOP THE CYCLE IS
GETTING LARGE CORPORATIONS TO
STEP UP.
STARBUCKS EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN
HOWARD SHULTS CREATED THE
100,000 OPPORTUNITY INITIATIVE
DIRECTING COMPANIES TO HIRING
100,000 DISCONNECTED YOUTH.
HE HAS PLEDGED TO HIRE 10,000 OF
THEM.
>> I GREW UP IN BROOKLYN IN
FEDERAL SUBSIDIZED HOUSING AND I
SAW THE FRACTURING OF THE
AMERICAN DREAM.
I WANT TO PAY IT FORWARD AND USE
THE PLATFORM AND SCALE OF
STARBUCKS TO MAKE A POSITIVE
DIFFERENCE.
>> Reporter: BACK AT YOUTH
BUILD, JACOB IS FINISHING UP FOR
THE DAY AND THANKS TO HIS
MENTORS HE HAS A SOLID
FOUNDATION.
BUT HE KNOWS THE ROAD AHEAD IS
TOUGH BUT HE KNOWS HE IS BUILT
TOUGHER.
>> ACTUALLY GETTING THAT EXTRA
STEP AND MOTIVATION KNOWING THAT
I CAN ACTUALLY ACHIEVE
SOMETHING.
THERE IS SOMETHING BETTER IN ME.
>> FOR MORE INFORMATION ON
A-C-Y-R VISIT THEIR WEBSITE,
ACYRAZ.ORG.
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>> FRIDAY ON ARIZONA HORIZON,
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THAT IS IT FOR NOW.
I AM TED SIMONS.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING
US.
YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING.
>> ARIZONA "HORIZON" IS MADE
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A report in 2010 found that Phoenix led the nation in cities with “disconnected youth;” individuals ages 16 to 24 who were not in school and not working.

Since then, different organizations have risen to the challenge to reconnect the city’s 100,000 youth with a path to success. Thanks to groups like Youth Build, the number of disconnected youth has dropped 27 percent. This report is part of an ongoing PBS series on poverty and opportunity, “Chasing the Dream.”

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