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YouthBuild students begin constructing home for family in need thanks program's return

KIMA

TOPPENISH, Wash.--Construction on a new home by the YouthBuild program is underway after the program was revived after a two-year hiatus.

Issiah Deluna is one of 22 students taking advantage of YouthBuild returning to the valley.

"I had a hard life up until now, until I found this program and it's been helping me out and keeping me above water," he said.

After being gone for two years, YouthBuild, which is run by the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic and the Northwest Community Action Center, got enough federal grants to operate for two years.

Helping students without diplomas get degrees and build leadership through community service, such as constructing a new home.

"[The program] builds houses, plus it puts the youth to work," said student Angel Manjarrez.

"I'm pretty sure if none of these guys were [in the program] they'd just probably be at home," he added.

In partnership with Habitat for Humanity, YouthBuild students are building a home for a family in need.

Program leaders are excited to see a new group put their time and effort into this project.

"We had an opportunity to notify the students and some of them even live locally around this area so it's a great opportunity for them to talk walk by and to get to the work site and build in their neighborhood," said program coordinator Bertha Gonzalez.

Students like Deluna and Manjarrez plan to further their education or head into the workforce once they complete the program.

They hope other young people in the area get a chance to follow in their footsteps.

"There's kids out here [in the community] that don't know what to do that are just afraid to stand up or try to do anything or just afraid to get embarrassed about doing their stuff," said Deluna.

Because they don't plan on having their past define their future.

"This is how we see it is it's our last chance to get back into the world, get back into the community and help out and hopefully we can do that," Deluna said.

Construction on the new home should be complete in July.

YouthBuild's new medical program is scheduled to start later this summer.

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