Posted on February 21, 2006
1223 N. Milwaukee Avenue
NPO Spotlight - BUILD
To engage at-risk youth in the schools and on the streets so they can realize their educational and career potential and contribute to the stability, safety, and well-being of their communities.
About the Organization:
Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development, or BUILD, was founded by Bob Jemilo and Hank Bach, two street-smart youth workers who recognized the need to reach out to young people in Chicago and show them alternatives to the increasing violence of youth gangs. Initially, the organization focused on intervention, and staff worked in the streets to develop a rapport with gang members. When they realized the gangs were recruiting kids as young as nine, they created a prevention program for schools in vulnerable neighborhoods. BUILD also started teaching adults about the effects of youth violence on communities and, to reduce recidivism, added a rehabilitation program for juvenile detainees. Using outside evaluators to test the effectiveness of its work, the organization continues to hone its model.
The BUILD model is a comprehensive program that incorporates prevention, intervention, rehabilitation, college or career preparation, and community outreach. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, it teaches children to be self-reliant and feel positive about their future. It also creates opportunities that redirect and reduce youth violence and empowers community leaders to address youth issues. BUILD works with core groups of about twenty at-risk and gang-affiliated students to help them create life plans for college or career and develop leadership skills. And it emphasizes outreach activities over building-based, walk-in participation; many activities are provided in partnership with other groups.
BUILD's Web site contains a map of the Chicago neighborhoods the organization serves, gang-prevention tips for communities, a list of BUILD's board of directors and its organizational partners, profiles of youth who have been successful in the program, and testimonials from community leaders.
BUILD is supported primarily by government funding (41 percent), corporations (18 percent), independent or family foundations (14 percent), United Way of Metropolitan Chicago (14 percent), and proceeds from an annual event (11 percent).