Local Crowdfund: Tending seeds of progress

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“I finished high school with a fourth-grade math and reading level and now I am at a ninth-grade math and reading level. I have my HiSET [high school equivalency; competitor to GED] and I am hoping to find a job when I finish the program,” says Marcus Diaz, a 20-year-old student involved in the YouthBuild program through Training Resources of America.

“Through this program I have learned to do many things and do them better,” Diaz says with an enthusiastic smile as he shows off his newly received equivalency certificate.

Marcus Diaz, 21, has gained much more than a menial job by working on the YouthBuild aquaponic greenhouse project with Stone Soup and Worcester Roots Project.

Giselle-Rivera Flores / For Worcester Sun

Marcus Diaz, 21, has gained much more than a menial job by working on the YouthBuild aquaponic greenhouse project with Stone Soup and Worcester Roots Project.

Raised in Worcester, Diaz was a student of the Worcester Public Schools and through 12th grade was a part of the schools’ transition program – a program focusing on the lives of special education students beyond the classroom walls.  Students with IEPs are given the opportunity to build transitional skill sets that can transform their adult life into a life full of promise, productivity and high confidence.

But what happens when you give low-income youth the opportunity to gain self-confidence, valuable life skill sets and an abundance of support from community leaders?

Well, you get a group of astonishing kids sparking change in a dire area of the city.


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