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Local Group Changes Lives By Teaching Young People To Build

By Lisa Hughes, WBZ-TV
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Award-winning journalist Lisa Hughes is a news anchor for WBZ-TV News...
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BOSTON (CBS) — Changing the lives of young people by teaching them to build.

That’s the goal of a local group that’s not only giving young people a trade, it’s also helping to build a community.

At a rundown building in Dorchester, the sounds of hammers and saws are heard as YouthBuild Boston is taking a wreck, seeing the possibility and making it happen.

They’re rehabing the old building which will soon become a lovely home.

“YouthBuild Boston graduates are very successful,” says Ken Smith, the organization’s Executive Director. YouthBuild trains young people who could have been heading in the wrong direction to work in the building trades. “They’re young people who might not have been successful in the public school system, haven’t been all that successful in the workforce and need some skills,” says Smith.

And that’s just what they get.

“I’m glad I joined this program. Keeps me out of trouble and gives me a lot of skills that I’m going to need to use in the construction field,” says Serge Belizaire, one of the trainees.

Over it’s 23 year history more than 1000 young people have come through the program and it has changed their lives.

“If you look at our t-shirts we say I build, I serve, I am. All those kinds of elements really make a very healthy person,” says Smith. And it gives birth to possibilities.

“Since I’ve been in the program I’ve already applied to 2 different unions,” says Kendale Edwards, another trainee. On top of preparing the crew for jobs, YouthBuild Boston also creates affordable housing.

“I’m learning a lot. I’m learning how to give back to the community,” says Andre Dockery.

“I love to build. There’s nothing like the feeling of, to be able to get on a project and see the finished product and say, at least I had something to do with that,” says Kendale Edwards.

YouthBuild Boston also provides a second chance for young people who didn’t finish high school by working with them to achieve their GED certificates.

YouthBuild Boston: http://www.youthbuildboston.org/

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