A Nonprofit Community Enterprise

Service Projects Lead to Change

Tayte Kuntz dropped out of high school when he was almost 17. Often partying and wandering around town, he didn’t have a clear purpose or understanding of who he was. Then there was a moment where he felt he needed a change.


“YouthBuild technically saved my life,” he says. “When I started, I was really depressed, and I was really cruel about everything.”


Tayte saw the bad sides of life and struggled to see the good sides. However, after a year with YouthBuild, Tayte discovered his desire to be kind and his plan for the future. These changes largely stemmed from the service projects he took part in with other YouthBuild members.


In an early project, Tayte and his classmates went to Winooski to build garden beds for Nepalese refugees, so they could grow their own food. In return, the Nepalese seniors made everyone naan—a type of bread and staple food from Nepal. Tayte was so touched by this gesture, he began to view his community differently.


“I never really cared about Vermont because I’ve lived here for my entire life. I’ve always wanted to leave, but after I joined YouthBuild and we did community projects, I am like ‘Wow, we have this really cool community and I never noticed it.’ ”


From then on, Tayte was eager to learn more about his community and get involved in projects that would allow him to build relationships with others.


Near the end of his service term, Tayte volunteered to teach new Americans power tool operations. Not only did he enjoy the experience, he noticed that he was no longer apathetic.


“I am hoping they [new Americans] are all doing well…I didn’t know these people a month ago, and now I actually care about them. It kind of made me think to myself, ‘I’ve definitely become a better person.’ ”


Tayte recognized his own transformation and felt inspired to continue doing service projects in the future.


Now that Tayte has completed YouthBuild, he wants to share his knowledge of construction and trade with communities in developing countries. With the skills he developed from YouthBuild, he is ready to take on new challenges and create a positive impact on the world.

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