Jacksonville Youth Works Inc. (JYW) was designed to help young adults between the ages of 15-24 become productive members of society with their Workforce Development and Self-Sufficiency Programs. Recently the non-profit participated in the city’s ‘Keep Jacksonville Beautiful’ project and was awarded first prize.
The cleanup was held on the Northside’s Myrtle Avenue. The Community Clean-Up projects are held every third Saturday of the month to revitalize urban communities one block at a time. The regular cleanup location is on East 21st street but they do canvas for much needed locations.
The 16th annual Keep Jacksonville Beautiful held open nominations in February 2020. The award showcase individuals, businesses, organizations and schools that have made strides to keep the city clean in 2019. Applicants were judged in three areas: beautification, litter/graffiti prevention and clean-up in Duval county. Nominees completed an application, including attaching a summary of achievements.
“We won the award because of our consistency and quality of service for our monthly clean-ups,” said Javon Williams, Youth Works Executive Director.
Founded in 2008, more than 100 adults have graduated and/or received a degree from the program. JYW strives to direct ex-offenders, youth and individuals to become productive community members, with a strong commitment to promote self-respect, pro-social friendship, and a renewed sense of hope. Youth Works provides a full embrace of youth including training and placement, GED classes, mentoring and health counseling and housing assistance. Participants are involved up to 90 days to six months depending on the trade.
“When one learns to improve the quality of life of others, they learn to improve themselves,” said Williams. “Our young people leave our program with internal and external upgrades with the goal of making everything they touch matter. With that recipe, success is the only way to go.”