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Jessica Enciso and Candy Renteria were two of 50 YouthBuild graduates from across the country who traveled to Washington, D.C. last week for a two-day alumni gathering focused on leadership, financial literacy, and personal branding, culminating with visits to legislators on Capitol Hill.

Enciso and Renteria were nominated by the co-executive directors at Compton YouthBuild. They attended the conference by virtue of their interest in professional development opportunities, advocacy, and public speaking.

“During the Leadership workshop and the meetings we had at the U.S. Capitol, I was able to broaden my network with Alumni, and also strengthen my leadership skills. I appreciate so much being part of this opportunity that was given to me,” Renteria said.

Enciso added, “While attending the Alumni Gathering, I was able to get the opportunity to advocate and be the voice of our YouthBuild members.”

“We are so proud of our graduates and the leaders they have become,” said John Valverde, CEO of Compton YouthBuild. “Our Alumni Leadership Gathering reinforced the idea that YouthBuild is a community that can lift and inspire one another to achieve the seemingly impossible, and we hope our graduates continue to flourish in the next phase of their lives, both personally and professionally.”

Both young people attended a program of workshops and plenaries, with a focus on fostering leadership, growth, and success. The leadership workshop helped the graduates identify their leadership strengths, tap into their leadership potential, and articulate how they can apply leadership practices and behaviors in their own personal journey. A financial capability workshop provided graduates with the basic laws of prosperity, helping them uncover the causes of poverty, and applying methods of success in their finances. The workshop also helped attendees move beyond basic financial literacy to begin exploring attitudes and behaviors that promote financial health and stability.

A personal branding plenary helped the graduates see their personal experiences for the successes they are and gave them the tools to illustrate their life’s journey. The session provided tips and techniques to help define their personal brand in today’s digital-driven world. Such techniques can be used in interviews and advocacy opportunities for the causes that matter most to them.

With their skills crafted and honed, the graduates visited the offices of their elected officials, where they took meetings with House and Senate members and their staffs. The graduates informed them about their participation with Compton YouthBuild and their plans for the future.

Compton YouthBuild has for the past six years sought to build economic sustainability for traditionally marginalized youth, families, and communities by providing no-cost occupational programs, accredited education, resources, and guidance. Compton Youthbuld is a licensed full affiliate of YouthBuild USA, a nationally recognized leader in youth development. Opportunities provided are community advocacy, leadership development, career pathways, counseling, technology, construction, hospitality/culinary arts training, and the ability to obtain an accredited high school diploma.

Learn more about the organization by visiting www.entrenousyouth.org or www.comptonyouthbuild.org