NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – There is a win-win situation happening in Newport News: Habitat for Humanity helps build dream homes for those who may be unable to afford a traditional mortgage, and young workers are getting benefits, too.
On Wednesday, several young men helped to build two sheds and a home on Madison Avenue. It’s a part of the youth build program designed to help the community and young people.
“I was going through like a rough situation. I was homeless for about four months,” said Ken Jones, one of those involved in the projects Wednesday.
“I’m not used to doing things out of obligation, so I’m learning,” he said.
Jones said he has learned a lot since he joined YouthBuild in Newport News. That program brought him to help Habitat with Humanity build a home and shed for someone in need.
“It’s not just about building the homes but also building the people who are going to live and work here,” said Mimi Mitchell with Habitat for Humanity.
She said it’s important that they work with the youth in the community.
“Making sure we are preparing our youth so that one says they can be homeowners. They can be able to build their own house. They can have the life skills they need to be able to gain steady employment. [It] makes a great community and a great society,” she said.
The YouthBuild program is with the City of Newport News for young adults ages 16-24. The program provides readiness training, financial literacy classes and career exploration opportunities.
“They actually do have some classes where they are learning those construction skills, they are learning about safety, and so the good thing about our partnership is they get to apply those skills they’ve learned in a classroom,” said Mitchell.
But it’s between learning to saw or hammer where Jones is learning skills that will change his life.
“I’m learning how to be a leader in myself. How to stay motivated and committed,’ he said.