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YouthBuild program supports JCWP, helps young people turn their lives around

“When we started I couldn’t imagine that we could actually build this house,” says Alex Otis, a member of Battle Creek’s YouthBuild program. “It is absolutely amazing.”

Alex Otis completes some trim work in preparation for the dedication of the YouthBuild house at the Jimmy Carter Work Project in Battle Creek, Mich.

Alex was busy finishing some trim work on Wednesday while his peers were cleaning up debris and otherwise preparing the Jimmy Carter Work Project dedication.

YouthBuild works with young people ages 16 to 22 who have dropped out of high school. Over the past nine months, these young people have spent part of their time building a house for Habitat and part completing their academic requirements. In Battle Creek, Mich., YouthBuild partners with the Habitat affiliate, which supplies the property and materials to construct the house.

“Besides the win-win approach that Habitat follows, we get a 'three-for' here because these young people are actually turning their lives around, thanks to YouthBuild and Habitat,” says Art Pearce, executive director of the Battle Creek affiliate. “They deserve a lot of credit for their hard work, both at the construction site and in the classroom.”

“We worked hard, but the reward is huge,” says Lewis Lawrence, another YouthBuild student. “I can’t wait to see the Calderon family actually receive the keys to this house. It is going to be awesome.”

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