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A Gathering of Changemakers

Keynote speaker, John Valverde, President & CEO of YouthBuild USA

Change Inc. held its second annual spring luncheon on April 25th at the St. Paul Event Center. At this year’s Changemakers Luncheon we gathered to celebrate the work of Change Inc., develop meaningful relationships, and, of course, raise funds for our important programming. 

Change Inc. Board of Directors Secretary, Ann Dillard, emceed the program and shared the mission of Change Inc. and its staff with those in attendance. We were also especially excited to welcome our keynote speaker, John Valverde.  

John shared his inspiring story of how he went from incarceration to CEO and President of YouthBuild USA. He joined YouthBuild in 2017 after decades of work as an advocate creating access to opportunity for formerly incarcerated people and those who have historically been defined by their challenges instead of their potential. As a steady and persistent advocate for removing barriers and creating access, John has worked with city, state, and federal agencies to develop and operate proven job readiness and placement programs.  

GAP School alumnus, Boe Boe, spoke as well, sharing his experience and love for GAP School. Boe was able to share how he immigrated to the United States and eventually found GAP School, after he found traditional high schools were not the right fit for him. He was part of the YouthBuild Construction Pathway and graduated, going on to get his real estate license. Boe has helped numerous students and fellow alumni achieve their dream of homeownership, solidifying his role as a community leader. 

A special video was created for the event highlighting GAP School’s YouthBuild program. Current students shared how YouthBuild has impacted their educational journey and staff explained the importance of our YouthBuild program. Watch the video below.

We are already looking forward to next year’s luncheon! A special thank you goes out to our event sponsors, Mutual of America, Therapy Brands, and Mahoney CPAs and Advisors. 

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