Schenectady is a city riddled with old and vacant homes that are left abandoned for years with little hope to be restored. But thanks to the SEAT Center and their program YouthBuild Schenectady, they are hitting two birds with one stone. They have taken the house at 706 Vale Place, which has been vacant for years and have decided to restore it. Not only does this help to improve the local community, it also provides the YouthBuild Schenectady students with hands on construction training opportunities.

YouthBuild Schenectady graduate Yusuf Criss gave an empowering speech about how he overcame the troubles of his past. Having spent 3 1/2 years in jail after getting into trouble at the age of 16, he realized that it was now or never and he had to turn his life around. Mayor Gary McCarthy alongside Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara came to witness the unveiling of the project and to show their support for the students.

It is not every day that you get to surround yourself with individuals all dedicated to improving the standard of living in a community, making measurable and visible steps towards a common good. Although the project has just gotten underway, we are excited to see the home return to its glory days and to house a loving family. The project should be finished by late summer next year, with state of the art green technology, certified by LEAD with the help of Saint Gobain and ActiveSolar.