Michelle Young, Project BUILD

Michelle Young, left. 

Michelle Young, left. 

"The youth we work with often face significant barriers, and we need partners in order to effectively work with them."     
-M.Young

Who we are:

Project BUILD is a youth gang intervention program that operates out of Durham County. We utilize an evidence-based model (the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model) to serve individuals, ages 14-21, who are active and former gang members, or who are at high risk of joining a gang. Each young person is connected with an outreach worker, who meets with that youth 2-3 times a week and maintains nearly constant contact with the youth to help them find their way through the different problems that these youth face in their lives, whether these problems are in their home life, school, employment or other areas.  

Unique focus: 

The unique focus of Project BUILD is on individuals and families with gang and criminal involvement.  The staff of Project BUILD are extremely knowledgeable about local gangs, are skilled in navigating the criminal justice system, and we assist individuals who are on probation/parole.  We also excel in working with other systems such as the mental health system through Alliance Behavioral Health and the educational systems in Durham County.

ReCity Collaborations:

"We really appreciate the partnerships available to us through ReCity, because they make it so much easier for us to connect these young people to the help that they need." -M.Young

We utilize collaborations through ReCity to connect the youth and young adults that we work with to supplemental resources,  such as youth employment or training opportunities,  supportive programs like Step Up and Partners for Youth Opportunity, or  with emergency resources such as funds for housing or immediate family needs (ReCity and Summit Church have both helped us out in several very difficult circumstances). 

We also have used our collaborations through ReCity to develop opportunities for the youth we work with, such as a trainings on employment readiness that will be taught by Step Up in April, or a pre-employment class that will be taught by PFYO and Step Up in June.  We also utilize the space at ReCity for weekly groups, bi-monthly multidisciplinary intervention team meetings, trainings, and other meetings.  We really appreciate the partnerships available to us through ReCity, because they make it so much easier for us to connect these young people to the help that they need.

Lessons learned:

One lesson we have learned is that the youth we work with are engaged in multiple governmental and social services systems. Navigating those systems is complex.  The youth we work with often face significant barriers, and we need partners in order to effectively work with them.  We would like to do everything for the kids we serve, but that is impossible!

Ways to connect:

What we can offer to partners is our expertise in working with gang involved youth and families, and knowing how to navigate the governmental systems that these youth are involved in.  We also have a lot of strong connections to the local community, particularly individuals living in high-crime neighborhoods who may not be easy to connect with for outside agencies.  Our most pressing needs right now are employment opportunities, both for the youth and young adults that we serve, and for the individuals who will be served by our partner program, Bull City United.

Learn more about Project BUILD and our mission here!

-Michelle Young, Project BUILD