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Engaging communities + Grant recipients

CareerPoint's Young Company

For over 30 years the BSA Foundation has awarded grants to support public education programs in Massachusetts related to the built environment. CareerPoint—a 2014 grantee—received a grant to support Young Company. Through Young Company's project, nine youths explored the architecture and restoration of Holyoke’s historic City Hall, developing a virtual tour to publicize the building’s history and architectural significance. Learn more about CareerPoint here.

CareerPoint's summary of the program:

Nine local youths explored thearchitecture and restoration of Holyoke’s historic City Hall, developing a virtual tour to publicize the building’s history and architectural significance.

Who was the audience and what was the benefit?

The general public benefitted from the creation of an online, narrated video, chronicling nine youths’ exploration of Holyoke’s historic City Hall, a Gothic Revival structure designed and begun by architect Charles B. Atwood in 1872, and completed by H. F. Kilburn in 1876. City Hall also offers a rare example of secular stained glass windows, designed by Samuel West. This building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, and included in a boundary expansion of the North High Street Historic District in 1992. All of this history is included in the video.

Additionally, nine local youths, primarily Latino and low-income, benefitted from their participation in the program by learning about both history and architecture through the development of a video offering a virtual tour of Holyoke’s historic City Hall.

Through this process, youth participants:

  • Discovered and reproduced samples of stenciling that once graced the entire building;
  • Explored rare secular stained glass windows;
  • Researched archival materials; and 
  • Identified topics for further exploration

This project also allowed VK Restoration to begin curriculum development for a planned pre-apprenticeship occupational training program in architectural history and building restoration. Two of the nine youth went on to full-time, paid apprenticeships.

How did this program meet BSA Foundation funding goals?

Young Company fit into the BSA Foundat’s goals to “support public education programs in Massachusetts related to the built environment.”

What was the final product of your BSA Foundation grant-funded program?  

Nine Holyoke Youth learned about architecture by producing a video offering a virtual tour of Holyoke’s historic City Hall for the public at large. 

How did you deliver your program to your target audience?

The Virtual Tour will deliver information to the 40,000 citizens of Holyoke, and will serve as a public welcome to local, regional, and international visitors. The Virtual Tour will be published on:

  • YouTube
  • Holyoke Public Schools’ Media Center
  • City of Holyoke website
  • Gateway City Arts website

Evaluate how well your program met your intended goals.

Young Company exceeded our goals:

  • We increased the number of youth participants from six to nine
  • Additional staffing was provided by the Boys & Girls Club
  • Youth were granted access to private areas of City Hall
  • Youth learned to research archival materials in the Holyoke History Room
  • Guest speakers shared historical artifacts and information
  • Youth learned how to reproduce original stenciling
  • Youth attended creative writing seminars to reflect on their discoveries and generate text for the virtual your
  • Two participants went on to full-time, paid apprenticeships

Youth Company was unable to meet the goal of leading live tours due to security and safety issues.

Additional developements

The virtual tour video is coming soon!

View images from the project below.

Above: Making stencils

Above: Tracing


To learn more about how the BSA Foundation is making an impact in communities, please come to BSA Space for a one hour “tour” of BSA Foundation programs. On the tour, board members and volunteers will tell stories about how Foundation programs, and the power of design, are positively changing the lives of real people. Meet the BSA Foundation meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. Events are free, but seats are limited. Check for upcoming dates and to reserve your seat.