Youth Build students get major donation

May 21, 2008 3:56:23 PM PDT
The Wal-Mart foundation is donating $5 million to helping at-risk youngsters nationwide. $200,000 of Wal-Mart's $5-million donation will stay right here in Philadelphia. The money will help Youth Build Charter High School continue its work in the community.

The students built several houses around the city.

"We put the hardest work into these houses. We made sure everything was done right.," Vernon Brown said.

"We also know that we're helping another family, so we take that to heart; we really appreciate that," Westly Boyd said.

Youth Build Students spend half their time in vocational training, and the other half in the classroom.

They earn a feeling of accomplishment while earning their diplomas.

" We try and bring the sense of success that they feel into the classroom because it's very hard to take that away from a student once they've done it," Simran Sidhu, the executive director of the Youth Build Charter School, said.

Youth Build students learn about installing everything from cabinetry and flooring, skills they can take with them in the future.

"After working on this house with the students of Youth Build, it's just like, I don't want to turn my back on anybody, and I want to work with everybody now," Carreather Atcherson said.

"That's all we want to do is reach out and help the community and make it a better place for people who don't really have much and are struggling," Kendall Reese said.

These young men and women had given up on education, until enrolling in Youth Build.

They all say that the combination of leadership experience, camaraderie, and mutual respect has turned their lives around.

Now, they're thrilled with their accomplishments, and excited to take the next step.

"I'm going to try to get a computer networking degree and just take it to the next level," Derrick Eason said.