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At-risk teens help Dream Builders construct a home, build up hope

Dream Builders 4 Equity flipped the house using a team of teenagers with no construction experience, but they had a willingness to be taught and mentors who cared

ST. LOUIS — It started with a vision to provide young people from low-income communities an opportunity to build homes while also building toward success in their own lives.

A little more than a year ago, Mike Bush introduced us to Dream Builders 4 Equity. In late 2018, the organization was working in its first home. A few days ago, Morgan Young got to see the finished project.

READ MORE: Dream Builders constructs hope for at-risk kids

“I knew from the first time I saw it, it was my house,” Mariah Richardson said.

Some people choose their home. Richardson said her home chose her. It was love at first sight, even if the sight itself wasn’t quite done yet.

“When he opened up, there were no walls and no floors yet,” she said.

The house has a story with layers peeled back and new chapters written by the masterminds behind Dream Builders 4 Equity: Mike Woods and Neal Richardson.

“The house had been on the criminal record for a house recorded for a drug bust. To see it now is amazing,” said Richardson.

Dream Builders 4 Equity flipped the house using a team of teenagers with no construction experience, but they had a willingness to be taught and mentors who cared. They learned what time, dedication, focus and a bit of hard work can do.

“Our program is really centered around helping youth find their purpose and help them achieve the goals they have in life,” Richardson said.

5 On Your Side met Carvon Ward and Teron Floyd in late 2018. Even then, their goals were there, the vision was in place and the work was being done.

“I didn’t want to end up like one of those kids that’s just doing dumb things in the streets,” said Floyd.

“You can’t just do this, you gotta think about your future,” Ward said.

A little more than a year later, they get to see the end result.

“Like, I wouldn’t picture it making it this far or nothing like that,” Ward said.

An idea: produced. A future: coming into focus.

“It got me interested in the field of construction,” Floyd said.

Both young men have plans to go to technical school to get into the construction field.

“I had a whole different mindset. Construction wasn’t on my mind at all,” Ward added.

Now, they’ll have a foundation that they created.

“Our young people are getting a portion of the actual sale of the property. So, they get equity with every home that we actually work on,” explained Woods.

Building a future. Building character. Building for others.

It’s the kind of mission with the potential to impact communities for generations to come.

“They're actually building you up for the real world,” Ward said.

In addition to the profits the students receive from the homes sold, they also journaled and wrote poetry that’s been put together in a book.

The students will hold a book signing and poetry slam this Sunday and all of the money they receive will go to their college savings funds.

You can read more about the event and what's next for Dream Builders 4 Equity by clicking here.

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