Adam Strong

YouthBuild and AmeriCorps Alum

“I only found my way into the middle class because of the opportunities afforded to me by YouthBuild and AmeriCorps. When I started at the program, my goal was to be a pharmacy technician, a job slightly better than the federal minimum wage in my community. After a few weeks in the program, I learned that I could do more and achieve more. YouthBuild and AmeriCorps helped me identify my potential, gave me the support I needed to navigate the systems I needed to, and through the AmeriCorps Seagal Education Award allowed me to pursue a four- year degree. A major key to my success was how the program made me a more resilient person allowing me to overcome the many hardships that poverty and rough circumstances threw my way, as I climbed the socioeconomic ladder and found personal, professional, and financial success working a middle-income job.”

Adam’s Story:

Raised by his father in an Appalachian community in Jackson KY, Adam attended his local community college, working as a security guard at a local coal mine at a time when the coal industry was in decline. He soon found himself unemployed and without options, but was able to gain entry into the YouthBuild Hazard program. At YouthBuild, Adam took part in community service and outreach projects while receiving a much-needed stipend. The experience helped introduce him to a life of service where he could not only improve his community and other people’s lives but his own as well.

After YouthBuild, he went on to serve two terms as an AmeriCorps member at YouthBuild Hazard working as a teacher’s aide. Using his Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, he transferred to the University of Kentucky, where he graduated with his bachelors of Medical Laboratory Science. He worked for three years in rural hospitals as a Medical Laboratory Technologist before

deciding systemic change through policy was what was needed in his community to break the chains of generational poverty; to create pathways of opportunities to improve people’s lives so they can support themselves and their families.

He transitioned to graduate school and recently completed his Master of Public Policy at the University Of New Hampshire Carsey School Of Public Policy, specializing in both tracks of Strategy & Communication and Statistics & Data Analysis. He is currently a Research Impact Fellow at the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement at Tufts University.