Adult Education via 'YouthBuild' in Little Rock

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - As KARK continues its search for Victory Over Violence, Tuesday night we're highlighting how adult education could make a difference.

We sat down with students to talk about the impact of a program called "YouthBuild."

"Scary. It's very scary," YouthBuild graduate Ashanti Williams said.

The past year in Little Rock is causing a California native to remember home for all the wrong reasons...

"When I got here in 2006, that's the first thing I recognized. Crime wasn't that bad. Now, 2016, it's like I'm in California, Los Angeles, again," Ashanti said.

But Ashanti believes one of the keys to making a difference and finding Victory Over Violence is adult education.

"This program saved my life," Ashanti said.

As a new mother, Ashanti enrolled in the YouthBuild program with the Little Rock School District Adult Education Center.

"I looked at my child and I said, 'I'm not about to raise this child with no education,'" Ashanti said. "I found YouthBuild, and it changed my life. It challenged me. They supported me. They helped me through so much."

Ashanti got her GED and her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license. She's currently working at a nursery home.

"I dropped out of school in the 10th grade. I didn't know anything, and this program shaped me and helped me become a grown woman," Ashanti said.

Hers is just one story of many in this free program that aims at bettering lives through education in young adults in Little Rock.

"My lifestyle has been reevaluated by education, basically when I got into this program," Jordan Hobbs, YouthBuild member, said.

Another YouthBuild member, Destinee Perry, said, "To me, it's like a second chance to get back on track."

Seconds turning to minutes, hopefully turning to a time of change.

"If we can get the young children who are out in the streets to come into this program and to participate and to stay, they wouldn't have time to do crime. They just wouldn't. They wouldn't have the time," Ashanti said.

YouthBuild Little Rock is making a difference through education in central Arkansas.

If you have someone who is making a difference in your community, email Aaron Nolan at He is always looking for stories of Arkansans who are impacting others. 

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