Germain's Story

Germain recounts his transition from recipient to provider of services. 

Germain Castellanos, YCC YouthBuild Waukegan graduate and member of the board of directors of Youth Conservation Corps, sponsoring organization for YCC YouthBuild, was selected as a Cesar Chavez Champion of Change in 2014. Germain’s commitment to community and social justice spans a decade, beginning as a YouthBuild student and AmeriCorps member at YCC YouthBuild Waukegan, Illinois. In 2008, Germain established the SHINE Educational Leadership Program that now serves over 300 young people at Waukegan High School – the same school that he was kicked out of as a teenager. His transition from recipient to provider of services earned him the Illinois Governor’s Journey Award.

I strongly believe in YouthBuild and have stayed connected with my local YouthBuild because of this belief. The training and transformation that I have seen youth go through in the program cycles that I was able to be a part of as a member and staff member are phenomenal.

Read Germain's Champion of Change blog Inspired by Change, Transformed Through Service on

Alexis Bach
"I have wanted to be a nurse since I was about 13 or 14 years old, I’m finally able to do it and it’s amazing."
"I think it’s important to make the connection between leadership development and education."
Ely Flores
"During my time at the LA CAUSA YouthBuild program in East Los Angeles, I discovered that I was indeed a leader and that there were leadership assets within me and within my community."