Sazian Reid has been drifting and driftless for almost a third of his life.
Reid, 23, dropped out of high school when he was 16.
“I had no purpose in my life. I had no goals. No hope. I was into drugs. Marijuana. I did it, I didn’t deal it.”
Then, a little more than six months ago, he joined the Mile High Youth Corps, and everything changed.
“Yes, I think honestly I can say it saved my life,” said Reid, who grew up in Montbello.
Last Friday, the slightly built man sat in the front row as a trio of high-powered people spoke at a press conference.
Donovan, Hick and Perlmutter praise Corps.
Each of them – HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, and Congressman Ed Perlmutter – at some point during the speech mentioned the Mile High Youth Corp., which for the past 18 years has been helping at-risk youth in Denver.
“The corps is really for guys like me, who screwed up in high school,” Reid said, in an interview withInsideRealEstateNews.com.
The backdrop of the press conference was the construction site of a 4-story, 75-unit building at the Benedict Park Place mixed-use community that will have green features such as geothermal heating and cooling and photovoltaic panels. Donovan called it the “Poster Child” for sustainable development across the U.S.
Summer program planned
This summer, Reid will be one of 25 to 30 Mile High Youth Corp. members working on the site, said Eliska Champage-Veselka, Program Manager at Mile High Youth Corp. The jobs are being funded by a $100,000 Department of Labor Grant as well as Green Capacity Building Grant, she said.
“They’ll work very closely with the general contractor and subcontractors,” Champagne-Veselka said. “It’s real hands on training with construction professionals, which will teach them all kind of labor, trade and green-building skills.”
Reid said he he is looking forward to the program, but he also talks about becoming a diesel auto mechanic. He also is working to earn his GED, as 30 other corps members did last year.
HUD Secretary Donovan was thrilled when told about where Reid had been and where he is going,
“That’s great,” Donovan said. “It shows you that these projects are more than just about bricks and mortars. They’re about people, too.”
Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com or 303-945-6865.