Reclaiming Our Education

Uva: [00:00:00] [00:01:00] So welcome, welcome, welcome Mirahcle and Adrianna. It is such a pleasure to have both of you with us today here at our Wellspring.

Before we get started, we know you had to dash in, so I just want to kind of level set and make sure we all take a breath. How are you feeling as you're coming [00:02:00] in?

Mirahcle: I'm feeling good and excited. And a little bit nervous.

Uva: Okay, so I'm going to note that Mirahcle is feeling good, excited, and a little bit nervous. That's most people. I might be a little nervous too, but that's okay. And what about you, Adrianna?

Adrianna: Hi, yes, I'm feeling good. I'm feeling a little nervous, but I'm kind of ready.

Uva: You know what? That means we are ready to go. I love it. Let's start with an introduction of who you are for those who don't know you. I had a little bit of um, background information about you, but I want to make sure that the world has a chance to know more about Mirahcle and Adrianna. so what we do know is that you are currently YouthBuild charter school students and the mission of YouthBuild is to provide out of school youth in Philadelphia with the broadest range of tools, supports, and opportunities available to become self sufficient, responsible, and productive citizens in their community.

You were introduced to us by your new chief executive officer, Le'Yondo Dunn, who's just [00:03:00] incredible and just did a podcast with us as well. And he shared his own story of leadership and then invited us to meet with students who exemplify the spirit of YouthBuild. Philadelphia. And part of what he shared with us was that you are leaders in your own right.

So with that, I was like, we have got to get these two people in front of everyone. So again, welcome. Let's start with how you found YouthBuild. tell me a little bit about how you came to YouthBuild's door. We'll start with you, Mirahcle.

Mirahcle: I found YouthBuild was actually from my friend Adrianna because I wasn't in school for about a year. I was recently in. One Bright Ray, Strawberry Mansion, and then I stopped going. And then, later on down the line, Adrianna was telling me about YouthBuild, and, like, all the great stuff that they have going on, and all the great opportunities, and we wanted to enroll for [00:04:00] construction because over the summer, right before we started YouthBuild, we was doing like little construction jobs on the side. Like we didn't have no experience, no nothing. We just start, just went straight in and start doing the construction. Then we was like, wow, we might as well apply for YouthBuild.

Then we got accepted. And then now I'm currently in GreenBuild construction.

Uva: Amazing. Amazing. So Adrianna was the recruiter who got you interested and involved. So Adrianna, how did you find YouthBuild?

Adrianna: Well I actually had a friend who previously, and goes there again this year, she actually told me about it and how good of a program it was. But I had like pretty much a rough high school experience. Like my first three years were regular. I went to Roxborough.

And it was cool, but it was after my third year, mind you, I had my son when I was 13 years old. So that always impacted my schooling and my attendance and things like that. So it just started getting harder around like 11th grade because I needed to provide for my child and [00:05:00] myself. And also in 11th grade, I got my own apartment and car.

So it started being a lot and I ended up just dropping out and doing homeschool, which didn't work out for me. And then I ended up going to one primary with Mira and that ended up not working out for both of us. And then we was out like the whole entire year in the summer and like she said, we started doing like construction jobs and then I found out that you've built a construction tree and we took it and it's been going great.

Uva: I love it. let's pause for a second.

You have a son. What is I love that you smile when you


What is your son's name? If you don't you don't mind

Adrianna: My son's name is Sadiq. Yes.

Uva: How old is Sadiq?

Adrianna: Sadiq is five years old.

Uva: Okay. So good to know that you are in addition to being a bright student doing, doing all the things right. Apartment and transportation and all the things.

You're also a mom. So that's a lot of work as well. So hats off to you and hats off to both of you. sounds [00:06:00] like, you know, life was going in one direction, you took a pause, you kind of thought about what you wanted to do next and then YouthBuild showed up as the right thing at the right time.

What is it about YouthBuild itself that then grabbed you? So you went on this construction opportunity, you gave it a try, you thought Yeah, might as well, but before the might as well. What about it made you think, Hmm, this might be a better opportunity for me in this moment?

Adrianna: Well, I just, when my friend went there, she let me know how much of the support system they had, and she kind of took it for granted her first year.

And me just seeing like how many people supported her and like told her to come back, it was just like, wow, nobody ever cared about me like that at none of my schools. And it just made me like, let me really apply here and try to apply myself because the people there care.

Uva: So a caring, supportive environment was what you found. So Mirahcle, what about you? What did you find that worked for you?

Mirahcle: I just like everything about it. Like they have [00:07:00] a very great, strong support system and they give you a chance to show your leadership skills and it's like they give me another chance to come reclaim my education. So why not? try to see what I can do.

Uva: Mirahcle you used an interesting choice of words, which was they gave you a chance to reclaim your education.

Tell me more about that. Why was that important to you?

Mirahcle: That was important to me because in the first week when we started, we had a mental toughness week. to see, like, give us a little preview of how it would be, what we'd be doing, and can we handle it and get through, and like, get to know each other, the school, the staff, and for them to get to know us.

And we did a march from our school down to the Marriott Hotel. and we was out there, we had the band out there and stuff, like we was coming to reclaim our education. And it just meant a lot to me, I never did nothing like that before, in any of my other [00:08:00] schools, it was never like that before, so that just really stood out and meant a lot to me.

Uva: Let's go back to that moment where you went through that walk, and I'm picturing where you were. School district building to the, that's a walk. That's a bit of a walk for those who are not as familiar with, Philadelphia.

But not an extreme walk, right? But certainly time to kind of think and reflect enough, enough time for some of that. If you could go back to that moment, like tell me what it, felt like in that moment. Do you remember

Mirahcle: Yes, because we actually was just going over this and because we just switched sides. I was just in vocation and now I'm back on academics and they were just like making us go back to that time and talk about it. So I was a little bit nervous, but I was happy. I was just excited because I was coming back to school. I had it in me again. I'm like, I just want to try to finish through, finish strong. So I really just was happy

Uva: happy to be there

Mirahcle: and


Uva: What about you, [00:09:00] Adrianna? Do you remember For you, what sparked what was interesting to you? Why, why YouthBuild in that moment?

Adrianna: one thing about YouthBuild is we have like Mirahcle said, two different sides, vocation and academics on the vocation side, you're literally being taught by real life people, regular adults who have regular jobs before this, and they decided to come to you feel to teach you the skills that they have.

They didn't go to school to be teachers. They didn't know they were going to be educators. The people that teach us are literally construction workers who've worked in the construction field for years and decided that they had something that they could teach to the youth. So it makes it even more special because these are people who actually want to give us some knowledge on things that they know.

And being as though they were real people and not teachers before, it really makes a great impact because these is people moms, people dads, people just like us, people who grew up just like us in these same neighborhoods.

Uva: It sounds like the way [00:10:00] they, not just who they are, but also the way they approach teaching really works for you. Compare that to your experience in traditional school. What about this approach grabbed you a little bit more?

Adrianna: Well, the thing about traditional school is I feel like four years dragged out is not needed all the time. Because we have four years around the same people with, everyone has the same expectations for everyone.

And you feel you're allowed to dive into what excites you. So having the same expectations for everyone doesn't work.

Uva: What about you?

Mirahcle: I feel like, with YouthBuild they got, how many staff is in there?

Adrianna: It's like 60.

Mirahcle: so that's a lot of staff For them to take time and have time to sit with the students and figure them out get to understand them and hear them and talk to them. Within like, regular school, it don't be that many staff. They don't really have the time [00:11:00] to really focus on the students, to understand them.

They just trying to give us our work, get us our work, and get us out of here. With YouthBuild, they really focus on like, you, your real life, your career, what you want to do when you get out of here. They help you with anything you need. it's just a lot different.

Uva: Adrianna, you are nodding your head vigorously as Mirahcle is speaking. What, what's coming up for you?

Adrianna: that was really the truth. At YouthBuild, all of the staff, no matter what their role is, whether they're administration or a teacher or they're the dean, everyone has mentees.

Everyone is a mentor. So literally everyone, no matter what role you have, connects with students in a special way. And it's amazing because usually you don't see the person who does the paperwork or who sits on the computer, but they have it to where all these people get out and they engage and they learn the students and they create connections and it just makes it so much better.

Uva: One of the [00:12:00] things that Dunn shared with us is just a sense of community that exists at YouthBuild.

And I feel like both of you are speaking to that, right? That it's all hands. Everybody who's there is there because they want to be. They're interested in you. They're pouring into you. I want to talk about that pouring into a little bit more and then maybe learn a little bit more about even before YouthBuild, right?

Where you come from and your stories. You mentioned mentors as well. So, tell me about mentorship at YouthBuild. What does that look like?

Adrianna: For one,. even Dunn has a mentor, he's the highest person up and it gets kind of hard because Dunn has to go out sometimes so mentorship is not just that one person with their mentor, literally you're open to connect and people that are not your mentor will give you ideas and help you get to where you need to go. They will literally do anything.

It doesn't matter who their mentees are or what's their role. It's like everyone there treats you as if you're family. They will do anything to see [00:13:00] you grow. And it's really amazing.

Mirahcle: Yeah, like the mentors, they check on you mostly every day, send you messages, keep you up on your grade to make sure you're not slacking.

it's a lot of support. Very supportive.

Uva: Sounds like leadership at work. sounds like everybody, and including yourselves, right, everybody's a leader.

Let's talk about leadership a little bit more. can you think of the first model of leadership you saw, like, who's the first person that comes to mind if you have that early recollection of, somebody you saw and you just thought, wow, that I'd like to be like that. There's something about that that What's your, your first recollection of a leader?

Adrianna: Probably Miss Davis.

Uva: Miss Davis.

Adrianna: Tell that's our school principal. From our first day, she let us know how eager she was to meet us and how eager she was to walk us across the stage.

She also let us know that our show up matters. That is like her number one quote. And it always sticks with [00:14:00] me because She literally gives us a reason to get up every single day because knowing that we can't if nobody gets us across that stage It has to be us. So just her that was our first mental toughness First day she came out she talked about she let us know she didn't play and she was gonna get us She was gonna get us across that stage by any means necessary

Uva: All right, Ms. Davis. We all need a Ms. Davis in our lives. What about you? Mirahcle,

Mirahcle: Mirahcle I feel Mr. Dunn. He always, if I got anything going on, he'll sit and talk to me. He tell me that, like, you can't be mad or, like, stuck on anything that you can't control. And he just try to help me get through anything I'm going through.

And It just, it just inspired me, he'd tell me about the things he used to go through and I could like, I could relate, it'd be relatable.

Uva: Love that. So as I shared a little bit earlier, one of the reasons you're here today is because he sees leadership in both [00:15:00] of you and talked about it so well that we wanted to get to know you a little bit more. My question for you is, do you see your own leadership? Do you see yourselves as leaders?

If so, when did that happen? What was that like for you? How'd you get there?

Mirahcle: Yes, I see myself as a leader. And I feel like I be doing a lot of leadership roles in YouthBuild. I'm a logistics manager, I'm in control of all the managers. Like, we got compliance managers. all types of managers and Mr. George let me be the overall like make sure everybody okay, everything going on in control of the tools and everything like that.

Uva: It's a pretty big job. It's a pretty big job. How is, how do you feel to have that kind of responsibility?

Mirahcle: I feel good like I I feel like it gave me a chance to get prepared because in the future. I'll be thinking about like, I want to try and have my own construction company and stuff like that. So I feel like it's getting me ready.

Uva: for the future. Okay. Love [00:16:00] that. What about you?

Adrianna: I feel like YouthBuild really bought my leadership out of me. In the past, I've always had influence, but I don't feel like I was always using it in the most positive way. So YouthBuild has actually helped me grow. They actually inspired me to create my non profit organization called Philly Youth Make a Change.

And it was, I was able to see how much the things I said actually stuck with people and how much it actually moved people to do better. And I just actually wanted to put that in play. And so I decided to create this organization because I feel like if nobody else is going to start to change in my city, it has to be us.

It has to be the people who Are going to be here in 3040 years that people are going to be working the jobs here and the people that is going to be creating a community as well as our Children. So I just felt like they really inspired me to use my voice in positive ways.

Uva: Tell us more about, tell me more about your non profit.

Adrianna: Philly Youth Make A Change is a nonprofit [00:17:00] organization for empowering the youth. Right now we are, we just have finished recruiting board members. All of our board members have their special. like a special area of passion. We have people who've dealt with suicide, people who have had issues in their home, teen pregnancy, different aspects, mental health, and everyone has a role.

So it's like kind of think of it like a tree. So we're kind of like the branches and we have other people on our branches and we're all growing together. We're all just trying to make a change because just because one person has followed mental health doesn't mean they don't have. experience in suicide.

So we all come together and we just do empowerment activities, community service events, and things like that just to show that what everyone sees on the news about the youth in Philly is not always the truth. It's people out here, well, youth like me, 18 to 21, who are actually trying to make a change in our community and what better for ourselves.

Uva: I love everything about that. I'm giving you a standing ovation even though I'm not standing up just [00:18:00] yet. Tell me more about what inspired you to start this particular non profit.

Why this work right now?

Adrianna: In the beginning of the year, when our first session was coming to an end, we have a internship class. And our first assignment of our internship class was to write an essay about what you're passionate about.

And my essay was on change and it actually like inspired not only the teachers but a lot of the students to do better And that was just in my one construction track So the next week at community meeting, which is what we do on wednesdays when everyone comes into the building And we all get together.

We do shout outs and we just do different things. I actually read my essay out to the whole entire school, and it connected with a lot of people. A lot of people came to me afterwards and just were telling me how much it inspired them and moved them to hear the things that I was saying. And it just showed me that I'm not the only one in my age because sometimes you kind of lose hope when you on [00:19:00] the bus or you walk in and you see these kids and you see them doing crazy things.

You kind of lose hope on the youth, but it showed me that I don't have to lose hope. I can just look where I'm at. And I know that there's so many other kids who hearts are aching for a change, for a better place to be able to survive to 25. So it just inspired me to do something because we can all talk about how much we want change, but if we're not doing anything about it, it's really useless.

Uva: you're both doing exceptional work. Your leadership exceeds your age, I think. And that's a beautiful thing to watch. So thank you just for sharing your perspectives. I'm wondering if we could talk a little bit about before you got to this space where you could be so clear about your purpose and the things that you needed to do for yourselves and for others.

Tell me a little bit more about just who you are, like, where you come from, what got you here in the first place. We'll start with you, Adrianna.

Adrianna: As you guys know, I'm Afro Latina from North Philadelphia. [00:20:00] I'm from 26th and Lehigh. Coming from 26th and Lehigh, it's a rough place. honestly, it's rough growing up. A lot of people don't take care of our neighborhood and you just you get exposed to a lot of things coming from that neighborhood.

And it just really changed my perspective on what I wanted to be or how I wanted my future to be. And this is before YouthBuild and it kind of blinded me a little bit because of where I came from. I thought I had to fit in. I thought I had to be like the people who were around me. And it took me down a pretty rough path.

I was getting kicked out of schools. I had my baby really young. And it also. It just kind of, blinded me being a mom as well, because I was still a kid and a mom at the same time. So I didn't think as much about my son's childhood before now. And how much the things I do impact him in his childhood every single day.

So YouthBuild kind of gave me a broader aspect of that.

Uva: For those who may not be [00:21:00] as familiar with the term Afro Latina Oh, by the way, I'm Afro Panamanian, so Afro Latina tambien. So really excited to, to know that we come from similar backgrounds. For those who don't know, what on earth is that?

Adrianna: Okay, so I'm mixed with African American and Puerto Rican. My mom is 100 percent Puerto Rican. And so most people kind of get shocked when I tell them that, because if you see my mom, you probably wouldn't even think that that's my mom.

Uva: Wouldn't how do you think your identity plays into just your understanding of who you are?

Adrianna: I've always been around, you know, black people. And it's always caused me to get judged from people that were like Spanish, Puerto Rican, Dominican, especially like my own family.

Like they kind of didn't plays into just your understanding of who you are? Um, well, honestly, really like been that in touch with my mom's side of the family and neither my dad's. But where I've grown up, I've always been around, you know, black people. And it's always caused me to get judged from people that were like Spanish, Puerto Rican, Dominican, especially like my own family.

But where I've grown up, I've always been around, you know, black people. But where I've grown up, I've always been around, you know, black people. But where I've grown up, I've always been around, you know, black people. But where I've grown up, I've always been around, you know, black people. But where I've grown up, I've always been around, you know, black people.

But where I've grown up, I've always been around, you know, black people. But where I've grown up, I've always been around, you know, black people. But where I've agree with my mom having an African American child. So it kind of plays a part in my [00:22:00] identity a little bit. So I, I really love, I really love that I have my Puerto Rican side, but sometimes it's like, I don't really know my family and they didn't, my mom also never taught me Spanish and my grandma, she doesn't like that at all.

My mom never taught me Spanish and. It's kind of affects who I am. I could be have a lot more jobs if I knew Spanish and it's like a waste of my Puerto Rican side. So I don't know. It's kind of I'm kind of up and down about it.

Uva: Still working through it? Yeah. Still working through it, but you sound really clear. Language aside, right? Right. And that, I think, is the even more important piece

Adrianna: Yes.

And I also want to incorporate that into my son. I don't want him to not know where he came from, so I'll incorporate more of that, like not even little things like going to the Puerto Rican Day Parade or tasting new foods because I want him to know where he came from.

Uva: You want him to have a full understanding of heritage and who you are as well. Love that. And it is bigger [00:23:00] than language is one piece. And I think as you know, Some of us speak Spanish, some of us don't, right? When we come from, Afro Latino backgrounds. And the language doesn't define us. There's a lot of conversation around that.

But the reality is I love that you're standing firmly in your identity and trying to teach your son as much as you can and understanding that language is a tiny piece of a much bigger picture. So love, love, love that you're getting there as well. Mirahcle. What about you? Tell me about your background a little bit.

Mirahcle: I actually grew up with Mom and Dad, but like separate, like from my first couple of years being born, they worked together, staying together down in West Philly.

Then they separated, my mom moved down to North Philly. 29th and Lehigh. And then so my dad, I used to like, I grew up with both of them though. Like I used to be with my mom and then I used to go over with my dad. So like when I used to be in my dad's house like everything was all cool and fun. Like I learned, I used to learn a lot of stuff growing up with them and stuff like that.

And [00:24:00] then I was going to Dr. Arthur Island Primary Academy on 32nd and Lehigh when I was living with my mom, but then on 6th grade I started going to Mastery Charter Pickett Campus from 6th to 7th, like the end of 7th grade year. So, when I was going to Pickett, well, from first to fifth grade, I always had straight A's. I was a great student, everything like that. And then, sixth grade, when I started going to Mastery Pickett,

6th grade to the middle of 7th grade, I was still straight A's.

I was a honor roll student. And then like 7th grade, I stopped, going to my dad's house. And I was just at my mom's house. And then, like, that's when, like, everything had changed. I started hanging around different people, the wrong crowd, doing the wrong things I shouldn't have been doing, so I was falling down the wrong path. I started skipping school, and at the end of ninth grade, I think that's when COVID started. So then we was on Zoom and [00:25:00] stuff like that.

It was going cool for a little bit. And then I was thinking about other stuff at the time like I need to get some money. I need to do this So I stopped I wasn't really going to school I stopped going and then, I just was doing me, and then, that's when, later on down the line, we heard about YouthBuild Once I start going to YouthBuild, I really saw a lot of things differently.

It took me a long time though, like, to realize, but I stopped, doing the stuff that I was doing, I got hanging around people that I know that's on the same thing that I'm on, that's doing something good, I gotta surround myself around positivity for that to be the outcome

I got ahead and got a lot of opportunities. I saw a lot of stuff and now I'm just, I'm here and I'm still figuring it out.

Uva: It sounds like both of you were going in one direction, right? And looping and turning and doing a number of things. But you had a moment that caused you to kind of think about where you were headed and shift [00:26:00] gears considerably. I'm curious about what shifted for you, right? So you were Both, you know, dealing with, a lot of challenges it's almost like you hit a wall or something.

Tell me more about what happened that made you think about the direction you were going in differently and caused you to shift gears.

Adrianna: Being an adult, that's one. That kind of changed our whole perspective once we got into the real world and we had to start paying our own bills and doing our own thing when our parents weren't supporting us anymore and not always because they didn't want to, because they simply sometimes don't have it.

So we had to just find different ways and the thing was we were always using making money as an excuse not to go to school. But we came to find out that the little bit of money that we were making wasn't anything compared to what we can get after we graduate. So we really just, really it took a lot. Me and Mirahcle actually started first grade together.

So we're very excited to be doing 12th grade. Yeah, [00:27:00] so we actually had conversations. Days we stayed up all night literally just talking about what we were going to do. what was our future going to be like? And we needed a change. We both know where we come from. We come from the same place. And it's like, Me having a son, we have to, you know, do better for ourselves.

We just had to look at where we wanted to really be in life. And so and also that construction path that we had was like a light bulb. It was an opportunity. It ended up turning sour, but it pushed us to do something even better. It was like a light bulb almost because we really didn't have a vision.

We were just knowing we just needed to get some money and we needed to survive. That's all we knew. So now it's the same. We still have those same bills and we have to hustle very hard, especially because we are at school from eight to three, but we literally had to literally just put on like our most mature self and just really think about where we wanted to be.

And in order to get there, we had to just get through these nine months [00:28:00] that we could not get through nowhere else. So we decided that this was going to be our last opportunity. We both are 19 years old. So it was like, we don't want to be graduating when we're 20, 21. And we have real life bills and things to do.

So it just like a light bulb switch, like we're getting older and we really need to do something about the way we are living. So we kind of have our goals. We have our vision of where we really want to be and we just press the play button on it.

Uva: Sounds like you are leaning on each other, holding each other accountable.

You have each other as a part of your community to move forward. What is next for you both? So when do you finish with YouthBuild and what do you see in your future?

Mirahcle: Okay, so we graduate June 28th, so that's when, Yeah, it's right around the corner.

Actually, because we will be done in, like, May, because it's on, it's six, well, seven sessions, but the seventh session is, makeup, like, and stuff like that for the people that's trying to make [00:29:00] up before, like, graduation and stuff. So really, the end for us would be session six. And right now, we just started session four this week, so right now we're in session four.

Yeah, so we almost there, and Honestly, I'm trying to just continue and go forward with my construction. today I actually just got an award because for my internship, so session five is supposed to be our internships, to try to see if we could get a job for after we're done or , figure out what path we want to go down.

My internship, I actually picked it's this lady, Miss Sierra. She got lady construction. I actually, I picked it, I'm going into there, and I just won an award today that I didn't even know nothing about my, my teacher, Mr. George. He ended up talking to her to see if I could start, working on the weekends before I even start the internship.

So, I got my award for being the first student in GreenBuild to start Saturday work with the electrician.

Uva: Congratulations. That's big. That's really big. Congratulations. That's awesome. So that's where you're planning to go next?[00:30:00]

Mirahcle: Yes, that's what I plan to do next after I graduate. I also want to have like stuff on the side, cause, and we actually, I actually was like, we were thinking about like moving out of Houston.

So, I'm also , just trying to find things that I could do.

especially if I move out there, what can I take with me? Construction will be a big one. I want to try to start a clothing brand. And I also want to try to start cutting hair. I'm focused on construction right now, but that's what I want to try to do.

Uva: Okay, okay. Love it. What about you, Adrianna?

Adrianna: So as you know, I have my nonprofit organization. So for now, like when I graduate, you feel I want to really get it off the ground. That's really going to be my baby. I'm going to be doing like community events because while I'm in school, I can kind of classify it as like, you know, a school organization, like a club type of thing.

While I do my tax forms and legal forms, things like that and get my nonprofit, like totally legit because before I take it out into the public [00:31:00] and you know, invite people from the outside to do it. I actually am just excited to get it off the ground running because while I'm in school, it makes it hard to do all those things.

So I'm just trying to get it off the ground running in this summer. I want to really do a lot of my projects and things like that. But in the years to come, because I'm taking construction, I'm learning so many things. I actually want to build like recreation centers and after school programs under my nonprofit and just eventually have jobs for more people and things like that to be able to provide for the community before I decided to move to Texas because Texas was kind of in our sight.

But I have a lot of things I got to do here. first for my city before I decided to move to Texas.

Uva: Love the commitment to home and to your people and your community and also just a bigger vision, right? To know that the world is a little bit bigger or a lot bigger. As we are closing out, I just have a few questions for you. But one of them is what would you say [00:32:00] to people who are looking at your generation and trying to understand what matters most.

What's most important to you in this moment that you want people to pay attention

Mirahcle: I would say, people really need to focus on their selves, and who they got around them, and what they really want to do, and it's so much more to life than just like what you think it is, for real, for real. I just want to say just try to stay on track, and be the best you that you can be. . This generation now is just like crazy so like most kids is like just falling in the loop or like just craziness that's going on and it's like it's way much more to that. They need some better role models and stuff like that, people to look up to and more support.

Uva: And Adrianna, what about you? What would you say to older people especially who are looking at both of you and trying to figure out what we, what they ought to do [00:33:00] differently to give you a better world to step into?

Adrianna: I would say don't be so quick to judge. I understand that a lot of people my age aren't being the best representation of the youth in Philadelphia, but there are a lot of us who are trying.

And before you judge too quickly, I would really check with the middle room in your house first, because a lot of the problems start in their houses and they don't realize until it's too late. A lot of people like to say, not my kid, but nine times out of 10, the influence from other people's kids, they happen on yours.

So these are the things that we should be always constantly having conversations about instead of your kids, always seeing you bash those kids or talk down on those kids. We need to bring back more of the community supporting each other. You should be worrying about what your kid is doing. And it's like nowadays, a lot of the older people, I don't get that.

We have 5, 6, 7 year olds running [00:34:00] around outside by themselves in my neighborhood. It shouldn't be accepted. How are you not curious to where your child is at this moment, at that age? So a lot of the older people, they do like to talk down on us while the same situations are happening in their home. So maybe we should start healing our home and then eventually try to heal our community instead of trying to judge us.

Uva: Healing our homes and healing our communities. it's a heck of a message. It's a powerful message. No wonder you are leaders in your own right. For anybody who's thinking about joining YouthBuild, who's thinking about applying and becoming a part of it, what would your advice be?

Mirahcle: To start off, anybody I come across, I would definitely recommend them to YouthBuild. I just, so far I haven't seen nothing like it.

Adrianna: Honestly, I would keep it real. YouthBuild is not the place to go if you're unsure. Everyone at YouthBuild is dedicated to your success. And in my year, I've seen that a lot of people take that for granted, that these people are literally there dedicated to you. [00:35:00] And I feel that they don't take it to the advantage that they should.

They should really be using this. to the best of their advantage and they don't like I see a lot of people throw this opportunity away. 3, 000 people actually applied for our school and only 245 of them made it in. And a lot of them, they don't take for granted what we have. They just like literally throw the opportunity away.

They don't show up. They disrespect the teachers. And it's like people, it's youth in Philadelphia who really wanted this chance, who really could have made a change. And it makes everyone's lives easier when you show up for yourself. These people show up for you every day, but if you don't show up for yourself, I don't think you've put as the place to go.

If you aren't ready. I know a lot of people have enrolled that aren't really ready and you're taking an opportunity for the next person because you feel is the place to go when you are ready to go into your next. step of life when you're ready to grow, when you're ready to be the best you.

Uva: So that readiness is important.

[00:36:00] Yes. It's really good advice. We are closing up but I want to ask you just a few really, really fast questions that I'm hoping you can help me finish our time together with. The first is what are you listening to, reading songs books, whatever you might be doing, podcasts. I don't know what you consume, but what would you recommend to other people that gives you life in this moment?

Mirahcle: Well, my top one right now, Jhene Aiko, Weez, and it really like touched me. If you really sit and listen to what she says, like it really, you will feel it really touch you.

Uva: What, what about it touches you?

Mirahcle: just what she be saying, it's really relatable.

Uva: Excellent. And you, Adrianna?

Adrianna: I actually am a reader, but I'm currently not reading anything right now. I've actually had this app on my phone that I've been on recently. It's a mindfulness app. It has a lot of quotes that are just from regular people just like us. And you can add your own submissions in there. [00:37:00] And it's very like useful.

I wake up in the morning sometimes and I check my phone. It's like notifications there from the app. And it's warming sometimes.

Uva: It's a good way to start the day, right? Yeah. Love it. All right. I'm going to say a couple of prompts. I'll throw one at each of you and just finish the sentence for me and, you know, a word or two or more if you want to. We will start with you. Youth is

Adrianna: youth is the future.

Uva: I am grateful for,

Mirahcle: everything.

Uva: Adrianna, I am paying attention to,

Adrianna: My surroundings and my past self.

Uva: Mirahcle. I am learning that.

Mirahcle: Life is way more than what you think it is.

Uva: And for both of you. We'll start with you, Adrianna. I am optimistic about

Adrianna: I am optimistic about the change in my community.

Uva: And Mirahcle, finish this off. What are you excited or optimistic about?


Uva: Love it. I'm excited about it too. Can't wait to see what both of you build with your hands, with your hearts, with your vision for yourselves, your family, your community, Philadelphia and well beyond. Thank you so much for coming in, spending some time with us, letting us know how you're feeling. I can't wait.

Please keep in touch. Let us know what you're doing out in the world because

Adrianna: we

Uva: I am, Positive. Good things are coming from both of you. Thank you. [00:39:00]

Reclaiming Our Education
Broadcast by