Zak's Story

Zak's Story

Building a Promising Future

Zak* joined our Build Trybe program while he was in residential care. He worked hard with our instructors growing produce and landscaping the space around our outdoor learning center. As part of the work crew, he also learned how to use tools and gained skills to be a reliable worker. When Zak left residential care, he went into our Pathways transitional living program. Build Trybe partners with Pathways to teach vocational skills to youth and young adults to prepare them for living-wage jobs with real futures.

Continuing his Build Trybe tutelage, Zak joined a builders’ space in downtown Kansas City. Along with a group of four other students, he learned how to build a number of projects, from raised beds to coffee tables, all under the guidance of our talented wood and metal instructors. With another instructor, Zak also helped on farm sites across Kansas City, and every Tuesday he would join volunteers in the basement of a church to cook a huge meal to be shared. All of these products gave him a taste of the culinary arts, landscaping and horticulture, and he did a deep-dive into metal and wood working.

“The journey that Zak has been on is one that we hope for more of our youth,” says Build Trybe Director Theo Bunch. “It is important to us that we not just provide therapy and shelter, but really work with our young folks to get them ready for the world. We want to see our youth not just become safe, though that is our primary function and mission, but to succeed and thrive.”

Build Trybe has partnerships with several businesses and groups that are passionate about the same things we are, and have agreed to work with our youth, from the carpenters’ union and construction companies to local colleges. Zak caught the eye of a wonderful family-owned company, Allied Concrete. Because of the skills he built through Build Trybe, they offered him a job at a good starting wage and will even give him a company car to help him get to the job sites. Within a few months of hire, they plan to help him become a union member and give him a sizable hourly raise.

“We are excited that Zak will be joining Allied Concrete and to see where that road will take him,” Theo says. “He has worked hard in our program and learned a lot of skills. Now, soon he will be able to add concrete and masonry to the list!”

Our mission is to help all youth find a supportive community and a sustainable career, regardless of the odds against them. Let us know if you or your company wants to partner with us to through Build Trybe or learn more about how we equip youth for their futures.

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the child.