SAN ANTONIO — Every hammer and every nail contribute to laying the foundation of a new life for SA Youth students. The SA Youth YouthBuild program provides a second chance for unemployed young people ages 16-24 who dropped out of high school. Jennifer Casarez, 19, has a two-year-old daughter at home who she credits for motivating her to start over and finish her education.

“[Had it not been for YouthBuild], I most likely would have more babies and just be a dropout,” she said. “I’m so grateful for them offering me this program.”

Casarez was one of a handful of students constructing a house at the corner of Morningview and Bookertee on the east side. It’s scheduled to be completed next month and will immediately go on the market to be sold to a first-time home buyer, veteran, or low-income family. Students will graduate in June with more than just a diploma in hand.

“If they choose to go into this market, they’ll have stackable credentials which is your OSHA 10, the construction certification, and all your safety certifications,” said YouthBuild Director Michelle Hutchinson.

As they complete the structure and framing of the house, students are affirmed in realizing the challenges of their pasts will no longer dictate the trajectory of their futures. 

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