Why I BUILD | Shawn Berriman

Several months ago, I came across a report on COVID-19’s impact on DC students. It was disturbing. It’s incredibly tough to read it and not feel for those impacted.

There was one particular line in the report that moved me: “Students who attend schools that serve a majority at-risk student population were less likely to report that they have a friend at school and that they feel loved.”

It moved me because that was my high school experience… few friends and the constant feeling that I didn’t matter to anyone.

I reflected on this while attending a BUILD class session. At the end of class the BUILD teacher Marsh, as he is known, dismissed his class with the following: “Goodbye young people and if no one has told you today that they love you, I love you.” 


Such a powerful thing to say to someone, let alone a young person who may be struggling with a lack of friends, or feeling valued. 

This is one of the reasons that I love BUILD and our work. It’s about more than academics. And it’s about more than graduation. It’s also about students being valued and developing their innate Spark skills to become “CEOs of their own lives.” For me, I’d even go so far as to say that BUILD is about giving students hope… that where someone’s story starts doesn’t have to be where it will end.

I never did receive much adult attention or mentorship until after I graduated high school. By then it was too late to help with my school grades or prepare me to go to college. But, it did leave me feeling valued. And it sparked my journey towards helping others – to becoming the CEO of my life.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m a BUILDer.


Remake Learning Days Feature BUILDFest SWPA 2024

Remake Learning Days is a celebration of innovative experiences and opportunities for youth to develop ...
Read more

BUILD’s 5th Annual Huddle Up 2024

BUILD's 5th Annual Huddle Up 2024 event, held on March 5th at the SVB Experience Center in San Francisco, was a huge success thanks to ...
Read more

Join us at BUILDFest NYC on June 5th for our year-end celebration!

A night celebrating a legacy of BUILDing entrepreneurial leaders and transforming communities.  BUILDFest, our culminating ...
Read more

 In the Pink Produce take home first place at JobFirstNYC’s My City, My Community Pitch Competition

BUILDFest champions In the Pink Produce takes home first place at JobFirstNYC’s My City, MyCommunity ...
Read more

Download a Sample of Our Curriculum

Fill out this form to receive a free sample of our curriculum and to receive occasional email updates on how to bring BUILD to your community.



1. iPhone, iPad, Zoom and Loom are all choices of recording tools for their video presentation 
2. Record with both students and their presentation in view
3. Record horizontally for the best view of the students and their presentation
4. Follow Presentation Diagram to the Right


- Make eye contact with the camera
- Notecards may be used as cue cards
•Pro Tip: Notecards should avoid having a full script
- Even when you are not speaking, don’t forget the camera is still recording!
•Be aware of your body language while you and your business partners are speaking
- Everyone has an opportunity to speak
- Professional dress is encouraged
- Practice makes perfect
•Practice how you will transition from each speaker
•Project your voice when you speak​

Follow positioning format Above

Download a Sample of Our Curriculum

Fill out this form to receive a free sample of our curriculum and to receive occasional email updates on how to bring BUILD to your community.