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This summer, in collaboration with One Summer Chicago and After School Matters, BUILD hired over 200 teens into good-paying, virtual summer jobs. Youth were engaged in programs covering civic engagement, gardening, cooking, jewelry-making and entrepreneurship, performing arts, digital media, and journalism. We may not have been allowed to come together in person, but our extraordinary young people built a virtual community of learning and achievement, and created many amazing projects we are proud to showcase on this page for you.


Brand BUILD is a Jewelry making program infused with youth development, entrepreneurship, social emotional learning and mentorship. Youth engage in hands-on workshops to learn how to design, use patterns and use special tools to make unique pieces of jewelry such as wire wrapping, beading, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. They develop a small business, learning skills in branding, marketing, design and producing their product. They are  given opportunities to sell their jewelry, receiving 80% profit and giving 20% back to the program. Alongside youth learning the technical skills to make jewelry they also receive social emotional support, and job readiness skills. Youth leave the program feeling confident that their creativity can be a form of income.

BUILDing Girls 2 Women

BUILDing Girls 2 Women is a clinical wellness program that works with female-identified youth that have been impacted in some way by community violence and trauma. This six-week extension of BUILDing Girls 2 Women (BG2W) will focus on therapeutic growth, life skills, and wellness. Participants will be engaging in daily activities in each of these areas that will allow them to explore and build upon what they learned during the school year. Additionally, our summer partner, The Simple Good, will be conducting daily art-based activities with participants that will expose them to the concept of civic engagement, how to analyze the existing resources in their communities, and come up with creative ways to help fill in the gaps. Participants will be building up their art portfolios and public speaking skills as they work towards a summer-end showcase. Additionally, BG2W participants will watch documentaries and create space to talk about important topics such as gender inequality, patriarchy, and other important causes. They will use their voices to create a video compilation discussing what they have learned as they pass the narrative forward and continue to transform their truth.

BG2W Summer Trailer:

Middle School Showcase:

Strong Bodies

Our focus for the SB OSC Cohort is 3-fold: Enhance awareness of the importance of Physical and Mental Health; provide documented evidence of Patriarchal societies and the damage they cause to both Women and Men; Educate the group on Women in USA history.  This focus is based on 3 Projects; Health & Fitness Challenge - youth will engage in an average minimum of 30 minutes of Cardio exercise per day.  They will log and submit this activity on a weekly basis as well as provide periodic Video support evidence.. People Versus Patriarchy (Partnership w/BG2W) - cohort members will watch the People versus Patriarchy documentary with their BG2W partners for the 1st 4 weekly sessions which also include focused Q&A after each Video Chapter.  The Week 5 session will provide details for the final Week 6 individual video presentations on what each Cohort member has learned from watching the documentary as well as engaging in the  Q&A sessions.  The History of Women in the USA - this project provided an education into the significant Women in our history, from the early 15th Century to present Day, and the impact of the contributions they made  For this Project, the Group was divided into small 2-person groups.  Each group received 3-4 questions each week to research, answer, provide sourcing and submit. In week 6 each group will present their findings to the group and lead a Q&A.

Hoops on the Block

Hoops 2020 is a whole different thing.  The Pandemic guidelines provided by LISC limited our ability to run our typical Hoops on the Block Program.  This year’s program takes place at BUILD and includes 3 basketball Competitions: Skills, 3-Point and HORSE.  This approach allows us to provide a program while abiding by Pandemic guidelines.  Weekly Competition results are being tallied for our 8/21 end-of-program Showcase event where champions will be crowned.  Champions will receive a trophy and all participants will receive a medal and all will go home with their own basketball and program shirt.   

BG2WxStrong Bodies Collaboration

BUILDing Girls 2 Women and Strong Bodies have come together for a special summer collaboration. These BUILD programs merged to get both female and male perspectives around gender disparities, sexism, patriarchy, and the roles we all play in pushing a more inclusive narrative forward. Participants have met every week to watch chapters of “The People Versus Patriarchy” documentary. They created a safe and honest space to engage in dialogue around unhealthy gender norms, toxic gendering, and the role we all play in making a change.

Austin Grown

This year's Austin Grown cohort focused on exposure to Urban Agriculture, environmental/ food justice, food, economics, health and ecology. Teens will learn about the growing cycle, nutrition, food preparation, facility operation and maintenance, project management, construction, leadership, entrepreneurship, storytelling and civic engagement, through weekly activities that include, presentations, daily journaling, guest speakers, field trips and hand on work in the garden.

My Adventures with Austin Grown 
By Dylan Faulkner

Performing Arts

BUILD Performs is an intensive workshop-based program that allows participants to learn fundamental performance skills while also gaining transferable life, career, and social-emotional competencies. Through instructions in Dance, Music, and Theatre/Musical Theatre, students learn the foundational basics of modern, interpretive, jazz and hip-hop dance, solo and ensemble singing, and acting/on stage. They will explore dramatic text while also learning to write using dramatic structure. Students will learn to embrace the discomfort of receiving and integrating critical feedback as they work collectively to create a finished piece of work throughout the six-week-long intensive.

Digital Media

BUILD Media is a multi-dimensional youth program focused on educating young people on the role of media and storytelling in society, and how to craft their own. Through analysis of media texts, broadcasting technologies, and how institutions of past and present utilize them, we strive to better understand how our culture and perceptions are shaped. In addition to building stronger foundations for understanding media, the core element of this program is giving youth the tools and guidance to create it! This summer we dove deep into podcasting, but also took time to explore photography, videography, music production, audio editing and graphic design!

Uniball Summer video contest prize-winning submission from BUILD Media Youth

Youth Council

Youth Council is a community focused program that is aimed at uplifting the voices of young people at the local level. The goal is to civically engage individuals in BUILD’s west side Austin Community to address, lift up, & celebrate the  resilient narrative of the residents of Austin. Youth will participate in  intensive trainings with local partners, that will focus on taking a journalistic approach in discovering, listening, & the telling of the stories. Youth will learn effective questioning techniques, active listening, trainings based on resilience & more. Youth will challenge the narrative that is currently in place by conducting interviews that showcases the work being done in Austin.

Community Interviews!

for Austin Has The Mic

Austin Has The Mic

Austin Has The Mic (AHTM) is a youth media collaboration between BUILD, Westside Health Authority, Austin Coming Together, Austin Weekly News and AustinTalks with the goal of collecting authentic stories from Austin residents, while teaching young people media literacy and media production skills. With AHTM, we aim to elevate the voice of youth and community members in the larger media narrative, allowing the stories about the Austin community to come from Austin itself. We hope to influence young people to be active and engaged in displaying the good that comes out of their community, and using their platform to reclaim ownership of its narrative. This program educates and empowers, and draws on expertise from local stakeholders like Austin Weekly News and AustinTalks; who enrich our young people with their practical wisdom and experience in the field every step of the way. Through AHTM, youth learn research and interviewing skills, and put them into practice by collecting stories of Austin residents for publication.

Civic Engagement (Prevention)

The role of the One Summer Chicago youth was to monitor, manage and post on our Camp_Connect Instagram page and every week they compose a weekly newsletter that went out to parents to highlight the fun and exciting things we were doing virtually with our youth. They also participated in our Civic Engagement rotation where we worked with a Youth Leadership Program. The basis for this project was to give our youth a platform for their voices to be heard, surrounding issues that affected them and they felt needed to be changed. These youth also had the opportunity to talk with and present their cases to two State Representatives. This was a unique opportunity for our youth and they were fully engaged in the process. We ended this group with our youth demonstrating their own mock protest culminating everything that they had learned over the past four weeks.

A.M. Group Final Presentation - Healthcare in America

P.M. Group Final Presentation - Defunding the Police


Intervention youth participated in several activities, starting with Community Canvassing, where they passed BUILD literature around the surrounding blocks from the BUILD office for events and services. Youth participated with Simons Park Intervention Programming twice a week, which included peace circle group activities and sports events. Our Youth Ambassadors spent time creating artwork in and around the BUILD office to beautify our space. Lastly, Youth Ambassadors participated in Hoops in the Block, and were in charge of helping out with the set up and break down of the equipment.


Intervention Youth Program Reflections: