BENTON HARBOR — Kori Broyles is looking forward to replacing the shingles on a home that she and several others will be renovating over the summer.
Broyles, 17, of Benton Harbor, took part in a walk-through of a house Thursday, where YouthBuild advisors and participants shared their rehabilitation plans.
“I want to learn how to put (new) windows in,” she said. “I always wanted to build things when I was younger. So, I just want to try new things.”
YouthBuild is run by Kinexus. It helps 16- to 24-year-olds attain vocational training and job skills through group instruction. The hands-on training includes construction, manufacturing and nursing opportunities.
The program has projects, ranging from yard work to rebuilding houses. The groups also do community service projects, including playground cleanups and building “little libraries.”
YouthBuild construction manager Dave Orr said they plan to rip several walls out and open the majority of the rooms and hallways up.
Next comes modernizing the kitchen and bathroom, roofing and refinishing the walls. Other than mowing and cleaning up the property, there has been no prep work done so far.
The house was bought through Kinexus, which also supplies the materials for the YouthBuild participants to fix the house. Once Kinexus sells the house, it uses the profit from the sale to fund the next YouthBuild project.
“Part of the YouthBuild requirement is we provide low-income housing to this community,” Orr said. “So that’s what we’re doing. We’ll improve this property and it will be a good home for somebody.”
Work is expected to begin on the house – which is on Buss Avenue – by next week and is expected to be finished and ready for resale by December.
The 11,000-square-foot home with two bedrooms and one bathroom is expected to be finished faster than the previous house that YouthBuild renovated, Orr said.
YouthBuild participants spend six months together in different groups, where they complete tasks, gain certification and go on to pursue academic work.
The last couple months the participants have been beefing up on their skills at the new Next Level Tech Center in Benton Harbor, which serves as the program’s training center.
While Broyles learned about YouthBuild through a friend who had taken part in it, Benton Harbor resident Malic Burton discovered the program courtesy of a teacher.
The 19-year-old said his teacher felt he could do well in YouthBuild. So far, Burton said it’s been everything he’d hoped it would be.
“It’s great having met new people and made friends,” he said. “It’s given me skills I didn’t know before, like construction and team bonding.”
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