In 2007, the idea of vocational training through construction projects soon evolved into multiple areas for workshop facilities in the U.S Virgin Islands. My Brother’s Workshop (MBW) is a nonprofit organization whose vision is to end youth crime and violence in the USVI. With a holistic approach, MBW provides hope through mentoring, counseling, education, on-the-job training and job placement to at-risk and high-risk youth. The organization sees over 150 male and female trainees per year ages 16-24.

Founder and program director Scott Bradley started MBW in St. Thomas in 2007. “The whole idea is a support structure for the young people of the community,” said Bradley. The organization has programs that touch on various career paths including vocational training, culinary arts, education, marine repair and rebuild, CAD/CAM programing, heavy equipment, and customer service. The success of MBW led to an increased interest from various programs and organizations on St. Croix; this led to the launch of a sister program in 2016. The workshop training facilities on each island provide opportunities for students to learn about construction, carpentry, woodworking, plumbing, electrical, and masonry trades. Additionally, MBW established a cafe and bakery in St. Thomas to serve as a training facility that teaches students culinary arts and customer service.

On St. Croix, MBW students continuously lend their building skills like carpentry, plumbing and masonry to several organizations on the island. Their most recent partnership with VI Trail Alliance resulted in three picnic tables and four benches at rest areas along Spur Trail, the newest public trail at the Windsor Farm Trail Network at the East Scenic Road Trailhead. At the start of the pandemic, MBW partnered with Virgin Islands Department of Education (VIDE) on their “No V.I. Child Goes Hungry” Feeding Initiative, which distributed breakfast and lunch to V.I. students each weekday during school closures due to COVID-19. Participation in these community service initiatives help MBW students realize a better path, further their education, and ultimately change their lives. To learn more about My Brother’s Workshop or to donate to the program, visit www.mybrothersworkshop.org.

Written by Anquanette Gaspard (agaspard@cruzanfoodie.com)