Roberto started struggling in 9th grade. Maybe it was the move from Middle School, maybe some home issues? There is no lack of issues that can come up at that age when you are caught between not really being a child. 

Alberto Govea


Pero (but) for sure not fully grown physically, mentally, or emotionally. Minor problems have a way of becoming major because they are not addressed or misdiagnosed. In addition, at this age, a lot of young people discover alcohol, or drugs, usually marijuana.

Some experiment with alcohol, which even more readily available to them than drugs. When I ask young people why they started? The answer is a friend or relative offered to them to them to deal with problems. And they continued because as I have heard time after time, “When I use, I don’t have to think about anything”


Roberto repeated ninth grade twice, and that was it for him. He finally just dropped out like many at- risk kids do at his age. And as usual, trouble followed not long after, sometimes even before. It is much like the age-old chicken or egg question. Soon he got into some trouble and was placed on Juvenile probation. And as part of his probation, he had to attend school, even if it was not a regular public school. His life of just hanging out with his friends all day would be no more. But what now?

Roberto’s mom had told him when his dad left, he was now the man of the house. And he had younger siblings that looked up to him. The pressure was there to do something, despite that though he did not have “The ganas”. (The desire) Then his probation officer

told him about the Youth Build program that provides free GED and construction training. That had a certain appeal to him, Pero, the fact was like or not, he had to do something like or not. Plus, the students received a training stipend of about $125.00 bucks a week. So, with that incentive and a little push, off he went to the program orientation. At the very least, it would help get some people off his back, he thought.

When I met Roberto, he was cordial and respectful, just a little nervous, which, of course, is understandable. He shared that he almost quit or got dropped twice from the Youth Build program. However, the Youth Build staff did not give up on him. Even though he would not have blamed them if they had. Today his new story includes earing his High School diploma and completing the construction training program. And perhaps even more impressive, he is now a paid intern himself, a position he earned through his work and commitment. Roberto’s internship has him working for CLC, INC., as an Assistant to our Construction Manger in our YouthBuild Construction Program.

We went outside to view the program housing project, which is a tiny house. (See Pictures) There he and Frank Kuykendall (Program manager) described to me the building process as best they could to a non-construction person. They are tiny homes (500/700Ft) but just like any other house; it has a small living area/kitchen area, loft sleeping and bathroom with a decent size shower. Great cooling and heating unit and it looks good. Chris Savage (Construction manager) shared that even though it is for the most not unlike any house but something parts do require special customizing. Which where he comes in and the best part is that his students are also learning how that works. The entire process I was told takes about 6 weeks tocomplete. And that is because you not only building a structure but teaching a young person a trade as well.

To top it all off, they do the work with the Housing Channel of Fort Worth. Which is a local non-profit with a focus on providing affordable quality housing solutions. Once the house is completed, the Hosing Channel takes possession. And they go through their process of matching a home with a local low-income resident. Talk about a win-win, you teach a trade and a local person in need receives affordable housing. Studies always conclude that all people do some much better at life when they have the security of a home, they can call their own. Something most of us take for granted can really make a difference in a person’s life.

As for Roberto, he is not sure if he will make a career in the construction trades. However, he did share that he would like to continue helping thehomeless or low-income folks with their housing. needs. YouthBuild has helped change the narrative in his life and the ripple effects may change many others. Only time will tell. We wish him well. In addition, we must congratulate the good people at YouthBuild for not only building homes but for also building up lives.


Frank Kuykendall
Certified Mediator, CWP, PHR, MA, MS, PhD 6220 Anglin Drive
Forest Hill, TX 76119

Ft. Worth Office: 817-887-9720 X 223

Work Cell: 817-653-1713
Fax: 817-887-9143

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