Davon Shackleford, president of WCC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, delivers a powerful speech to the YouthBuild inductees.

Davon Shackleford, president of WCC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, delivers a
powerful speech to the YouthBuild inductees. Photo by Jessica Bibbee.

Twenty-one Washtenaw County youths were welcomed to campus last month, becoming first round participants in the Washtenaw Community College YouthBuild program. All 21 successfully completed a six-day Mental Toughness challenge in order to be eligible for the special training program.

YouthBuild is an $899,000 U.S. Department of Labor three-year program awarded to WCC last fall. Its goal is to teach building construction skills to disadvantaged youth from Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township while they work toward earning a GED.

Keynote speaker Davon Shackleford, president of WCC’s chapter of Phi Kappa Theta, an international student honor society of two-year colleges, addressed the inductees with a powerful statement about potential and believing in oneself.

“Chase the impossible because when you do that, you achieve what nobody thought was possible,” he told the students. Shackleford will continue to support the new students as a mentor. The program also is seeking community members who are willing to mentor the students.

Bonnie Truhn, Adult Transitions Manager at WCC said, “It’s a wonderful opportunity for students who may have faced obstacles or challenges in the past to start anew. This is just another example of how this college is focused on opening doors for everyone in the community.”