Philadelphia Charter School students transform homes, lives

PHILADELPHIA - October 31, 2013

The idea is to improve their future and the future of the community.

They are learning how to tear it down before they build it up.

19 students from Youthbuild Philadelphia Charter School are helping the demolition work on two adjoining properties on West Wingohocking Street in Nicetown.

"It's a lot of work to it that I thought was going to be easy, but I managed to make it through it," said Isaiah Dykes.

"This is my first time doing demo, so it was a good experience," said Sakahya Barnes.

It is a second chance for these young men and women to earn a high school diploma and learn a vocation or prepare for college and a career.

Kalif Mapp says she hopes to have a career in construction.

"I want to buy a abandoned of houses, fix them up myself, and put them back on the market," said Kalif.

"I love construction," said Jasmine Elkins. "I've been wanting to do construction since I was very little. I always asked my mom and dad for a tool set."

Saint-Gobain, of Valley Forge and one of the world's largest building materials company, has donated tools and building supplies.

"As a company, Saint-Gobain and our subsidiary Certain Teed could not be more proud to help these students in their goal to transform themselves and this house into a model of sustainability," said Dina Pokedoff.

Taking a rare break, the students donned their Halloween gear, knowing that their project will add to the aesthetics of the brand new Nicetown Courts, built by the Nicetown Community Development Corporation.

"I am so excited for the opportunity for them because not only do they get to do something they've never done before in their lives," said George Jenkins, Youthbuild Construction. "It also gives us the opportunity to engage with the community and take everything they learn back to the community and their homes."

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