June 24, 2024

Most Reverend John J. McIntyre Presides at Blessing of Youth Skills Building Program, a New Ministry for Philadelphia Youth

Today at a special ceremony, Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CSS) blessed the Youth Skills Building Program (YSBP), a new after-school ministry in South Philadelphia.

Most Reverend John J. McIntyre, an Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia who oversees the Secretariat for Catholic Human Services (CHS) as part of his administrative and pastoral responsibilities, presided over the blessing.

He was joined by Mrs. Heather Huot, Secretary for CHS; Dr. James Black, Director of CSS’ Youth Services Division; Kimberly Ali, Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner; members of the CSS Board of Directors; local government officials; staff members from the program; and community supporters.

Funded by DHS to engage youth and help keep them safe, YSBP is a new after-school ministry of CSS’ Youth Services Division. The trade education program launched in May 2024, aiming to reduce risk factors for Philadelphia youth aged 13-18. It plans to serve 24 young people in its first year of operation.

YSBP provides youth with the opportunity to acquire new skills including carpentry and home repair. Program participants will use their newly learned skills to repair vandalized homes throughout the City. In addition, the program offers members transportation, meals, and a weekly stipend. The YSBP building development involved rehabilitating the former Saint Gabriel Parish Elementary School in Grays Ferry. 

“This program highlights Catholic Social Services’ commitment to serving at-risk youth,” said Dr. Black. “The partnership of CSS, DHS, and the parish is a shining example of what we can accomplish when we work together to lift up and provide opportunities for our young people and their families.”

“Youth involvement in after-school activities and community-based programs can promote positive behaviors,” said Ali. “We envisioned YSBP to be a place where young people could receive mentorship and support, all while being prepared for future employment opportunities in various trades.”

A replay of the blessing can be viewed later this week on CSS’ Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cssphiladelphia.

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Editor’s Note: For more information on Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit https://cssphiladelphia.org/.

Attached is a photo for publication purposes with credit to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Pictured left to right is Dr. James Black, Director of CSS’ Youth Services Division; Most Reverend John J. McIntyre, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia; Kimberly Ali, DHS Commissioner; Vanessa Garrett Harley, Chief Deputy Managing Director of the City of Philadelphia; Brian Butler, Health and Human Services Executive Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner of DHS; and Heather Huot, Secretary for CHS of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

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Katie Rogers
Media and Events Specialist for Catholic Human Services
215-587-3747 (office)