Finding Support in TAP’s YouthBuild Program

“I believe [TAP] helps restore things back into people’s lives,” says Savyon Prather, a graduate of our YouthBuild program. He knows firsthand about the power of restoration.

Savyon was in and out of juvenile centers for most of his teenage years. Upon turning 18, he committed a crime and was charged as an adult and sent to prison where he served two years. Once released, he moved to North Carolina and was homeless, living “couch to couch” with friends, until he moved to Roanoke to live with his grandfather. It was here in Roanoke that Savyon found TAP and entered the YouthBuild program. 

A Fresh Start

“He came in straight from the streets, no manners, pants hanging down,” says Angela Williams, YouthBuild program coordinator. But at TAP, Savyon found an atmosphere where he could grow and thrive. “They gave me another chance and didn’t judge me because of my background,” he says. “I’ve never had a lot of love, and they showed me a whole lot of love and support.”

Surviving “Mental Toughness”

In our YouthBuild program, Savyon first completed a challenging two-week “mental toughness” curriculum designed to test potential students’ motivation and sharpen their focus on succeeding in the program.

He then worked with our construction supervisor weekly on building a home in Roanoke City, and was one of the first students in the program to earn a nationally-recognized certificate in construction skills. We also helped Savyon obtain a copy of his GED certificate, which he had earned in prison but never received in hard copy. The certificate was key to Savyon obtaining a part-time job, and his first apartment followed soon after that. 

A Bright Future

Today, Savyon is in a far different place than when he came to TAP. He has been hired by HUB Corporation, a custom manufacturing shop specializing in complex machining.

In addition, he’s entered a training program at Virginia Western Community College to further his skills. As he puts it, “My life has changed a lot because of TAP… TAP helped me to value myself more. I am going to make my loved ones proud and I know it’s because of this program.”