August 22, 2008

Youthbuild Meets Red Sox, Helps Vets

QUINCY - Matt Miller says it was by far "the best day of my life."

The Quincy YouthBuild student got to spend last Saturday using skills he had learned in the program to help at the second annual Red Sox "Foundation Nation Community Service Day." As part of the deal, he got to meet some of his favorite Red Sox players.

Quincy YouthBuild and four other Boston Coalition YouthBuilds helped volunteers from the Red Sox Foundation, Covidien - the event's corporate sponsor - and local building tradesmen update Building 23 at Brockton Veterans Hospital, a recreational facilities building.

With Miller were his mother, Debbie Miller, fellow student Ryan Serafini, YouthBuild work-site supervisor Nick Morganelli, Quincy Housing Authority lead carpenter Paul Curran and staff members Darcy Cordner, Isabel Cobb and Annette Owens from Training Resources of America Inc., which operates the Quincy program.

YouthBuild gives low-income high school dropouts 16 to 24 years old the chance to earn their GED or diploma while learning construction skills by building or renovating affordable housing.

"Saturday's event was very rewarding," said Cobb, the Quincy site manager. "Everyone was energetic about helping the veterans and the current troops. It was a thrill of a lifetime to be part of such a wonderful event."

The day's work included painting, cleaning, creating storage areas, planting trees, updating fields and courts, and landscaping.

Other volunteers made care packages for soldiers overseas.

As part of the program, the students went to the hospital three times before the event to work on the building.

"One of the nicest things was how the veterans were impressed with and very appreciative of what the boys had done," Cordner said.

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