Fixing Houses to Help Honor Dr. Martin Luther King's Legacy

Nicole Ebat

OMAHA(KPTM)--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called for serving others above all else and many people in Omaha spent Monday doing just that.

Students working with Goodwill's Youth Build program have been helping build and restore houses with the Abide Network.

People in the program earn their GEDs while learning construction skills at house that would otherwise be demolished.

Youth Build and the Abide Network have been working together for about a year and a half, but the students spent the entire Martin Luther King Jr. Day working on giving back and sharing what doing so means to them.

"To me, it means the world," said Shawn-Paul Simpson,20, a student with the program. "A lot of my family used to look down on me I'm getting a lot of praise from my family now. A lot of them want to see me again, a lot of them want to be around me again because they do realize that I am trying to change my life around and trying to do something for myself."

People heading the project said the house he's helping work on near 33rd and Fowler streets was "a mess" when they got it.

"All the changes they've made over the last couple of months is absolutely amazing, because literally this house, when I first came here it was like a stick. We were gutting it out and it's just amazing to see all the work that they've done," Said Miriam Blair, Project Coordinator with Youth Build.

Now the house has stairs and new doors along with drawers and cabinets all waiting to be installed.

Through the program, low-income areas get new houses and young adults get a new chance.

"Personally, I think I'd still be in jail," said Simpson. "I think I would still be running the streets and not pulling my head out of where it shouldn't be."

The program is helping 30 young adults right now. They're working on about 20 homes with the Abide Network as well as other projects around Omaha.