Youth Build builds new homes and lives

By Doug Walker - bio | email

LONG BEACH, MS  (WLOX) - It's a labor of love on 1st Street in Long Beach. Several at-risk teens are turning around their lives and helping a hurricane victim at the same time.

The Youth Build program is widely known for its success, in the classroom and on the jobsite. Genia Crane is the program manager for this build, and while students have been busy for months working on the Long Beach home, they have met other lofty goals as well.

"Several of them have obtained their GED's. Several of them are planning on going to Jr. College. Some of them are going into the construction place," Crane said.

One of the soon to be graduates is Chad Montemarano, who admits he has changed for the better.

"It has changed me a little bit. I'd gotten in a little bit of trouble back in the day and when I got in this program, Ms. Gina and Ms. Cuevas, they set me straight," Montemarano said. "Right now, I've got a lot of good stuff going for me."

And Michelle McInnis feels good about helping herself, not to mention a victim of Katrina.

"A lot of people in Gulfport lost their house during Katrina, and it took a long time for us to rebuild and help them get back into a home," McInnis said.

But the time it's taken for these young people to rebuild their own lives and become productive citizens has been a lot less.

The home in Long Beach will be dedicated on Thursday. Meanwhile, another Youth Build class begins next week.

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