YouthBuild continues to make homes in Rochester

Aug 23, 2017

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter toured the site of a local YouthBuild project Wednesday.

The home building project helps at-risk youth successfully transition from school to the workforce while rebuilding their communities, helping participants work toward a high school diploma or GED while gaining experience in the construction industry.

Congresswoman Slaughter said everything about this project is positive.

"For the young people who participate in it, they have the fellowship first that they need, they have mentors who they can follow and they get a skill that they can use for all their lives."

Student builders have spent over a year building a home in the JOSANA neighborhood, near the Capelli Sport Stadium.

David Espinosa is one of those students. He said he found YouthBuild after dropping out of high school.

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

“I found YouthBuild at a walk in, at a college fair and it helped me get back on track as far as construction programs, GED classes."

Now with his GED in hand and two daughters at home, Espinosa said other young adults could absolutely benefit from the program.

"A lot of kids came here off the street. It gives them a little stipend so that’s motivation to get them to school or even class."

Atlas Contracting owner Michael Spaan collaborates with YouthBuild and says the hands on aspect is the most important part.

"If they’re just sweeping or doing the labor part of the job they’re not going to show up, but we showed them it’s not just labor it’s an actual skill."

US Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced over $1 million in federal funding to the Catholic Charities Diocese of Rochester, those grants will be awarded to the YouthBuild program.

The Urban League of Rochester has run the program locally for about 20 years.