Zachary Drake is a 20 year old Worcester resident. Zach came to TRA after learning about YouthBuild Worcester from his Department of Children and Families’ case worker. When he left Recovery High, a school that helps young people dealing with substance abuse, Zach knew he needed to find some focus and keep himself on track. From the first intake, you could tell he was a great young man, just looking for a little guidance.

Tangled up with the wrong kids, Zach self-identified that he needed to put some separation from them. He knew there was no looking back, and put his head down, working independently and keeping to himself for much of his start at YouthBuild Worcester. Quiet at first, Zach slowly opened up and expressed a real interest in buckling down, completing his HiSET in February of this year, right before the chaos that COVID-19 brought.

Although remote learning didn’t prove to be his favorite, Zach continued to stay in touch with program staff and tried his best to participate in the opportunities offered to him during the virtual learning phase brought on by the pandemic.

Zach has a knack for working with his hands and a “let’s get the job done” attitude which served him well on both the 20 Merrick Street (a LEED certified single family home build in partnership with Worcester Common Ground and Saint-Gobain Corporation) and 12 Forbes Street (an energy efficient single family home build in partnership with Worcester East Side CDC) worksite projects. Upon completion, both homes will be sold to low-income, first-time homebuyers.

In September 2020, he began classes at Quinsigamond Community College, full-time, working towards his associate’s degree. Zach intends to pursue studies in Criminal Justice with a goal of eventually becoming a forensic scientist.

Zach is also the 2020 recipient of the YouthBuild Worcester Pedro Vasquez-Calderon Award, awarded to a student that perseveres in spite of his/her challenges and continues to strive for excellence. We are so proud of everything that Zach has accomplished and look forward to the many successes that await him!

Photo: Zachary Drake is pictured with YouthBuild Worcester Program Director, Doug Daigle.

YouthBuild Worcester is funded by the United States Department of Labor, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education-YouthBuild Funds, and Saint-Gobain Corporation.

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