YouthBuild Helps At-Risk Teens

RENO, NV -It looks like just about any other construction site you'd see around town.

These workers are scraping floors to eventually lay carpet.

But take another look at the help here and you'll notice they are a little younger than normal.

That's because the 20 16-to-24-year-olds are part of the YouthBuild program, learning construction skills and earning a GED all at once.

“This is for people just trying to do something with their lives. Honestly, it's really not that hard. You just have to come in every day and be prepared to work,” says YouthBuild student Antonio McLaughlin.

The students are considered at risk.

That's because they, up until this point, had no high school diploma or its equivalent and had no marketable skills to speak of, and really no future.

Before they even came to work on this house, they took hours and hours of class work, enough for a GED diploma.

Then came the basics of home construction, which includes plumbing, electrical, carpentry, and flooring.

“They have the opportunity to enter post-secondary education, the apprenticeship program through Associated Builders and Contractors, or work-free development employment,” says Jeremy Stocking, Washoe Youth Program Director.

Coincidentally the house they are converting will eventually be a center for foster children making the transition into adulthood combined with a runaway shelter.

”You know, it could have been me. But yeah, it's giving back a lot,” says YouthBuild Student Andrew Cortz.

Building a future for themselves that they otherwise wouldn't have had, and bringing hope to those who are now where they once were.

Antonio and Andrew and the rest of the construction crew will be graduating later this week.

Meanwhile, another set of students will begin their course study in July and continue working on the youth house in January.

The remodeled home should be complete and taking in residents by 2016.