Photo By Erica Sherman

According to a report in the New York Daily News, the Probation Department has been bringing about 70 at risk teens to help rebuild the Gerritsen Beach community every weekend.

While the teens were all busted for skipping fares, fighting and stealing, they have found a positive outlet in helping clear damaged houses and tear down walls:

The program “is the first time any of them have ever held a tape measure,” [Steve] Cacace, [the probation administer] said.

That came in handy two weeks ago, when some of the teens showed up at Linda Vergara’s Astor Court home. The ground floor was destroyed when nearly three feet of water rushed into her home the night Sandy hit. The Brooklyn College secretary lost everything in the home once owned by her grandparents.

“Her house was literally wrecked,” said 16-year-old Trayvon, who worked on Vergara’s home. “It was so sad. It could happen to anybody.”

For the next several hours, the kids pulled up Vergara’s floorboards, pulled out rotted wall beams and removed portions of her ceiling. They built new wall frames for the living room and bedroom and began to install new insulation.

Reaction to this story has been mixed. One Daily News commentator, Lucille, was worried that the children, whose crimes weren’t serious enough to be jailed for, were being taken advantage of.

They will complete their community service, that’s the only accreditation they will receive. The kids won’t gain anything that will get them a job for what homeowners should be paying contractors for as FEMA (with our tax dollars) is supposed to paying for the repairs, at least eventually, of these homes. Meanwhile the homeowners will get every dime promised to them by FEMA while some of the work on their homes will have already been done by these kids for free and the kids get nothing as usual.

Um, sorry, but since when is construction not a viable trade?

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  • http://kibblesbits.wordpress.com/ Ann

    Watch those contractors. My husband saw some of them doing electrical work that was not to code. Out of state ones who don’t know the local codes. And then when there is a problem,, guess who pays for it? Rapid repairs should check out their contractors better…

  • levp

    the kids pulled up Vergara’s floorboards, pulled out rotted wall beams and removed portions of her ceiling. They built new wall frames for the living room and bedroom and began to install new insulation.

    Surely, full OSHA compliance was in place to ensure that these modern-day indentured servants do not get lung decease?
    http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owasrch.search_form?p_doc_type=STANDARDS&p_toc_level=1&p_keyvalue=Construction

    And, for the same reason, the work site was certified as asbestos-free by a licensed contractor before all that work has begun?
    http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/

    On the other hand, they are poor and almost in prison, so who cares?

  • Duke

    Oh yeah set aside a budget to rebuild and use “troubled” teens to do this shit for free with zero experience. God Bless America

  • bagels

    The kids have to do community service of some kind for their misdemeanor offenses. If they weren’t assigned to do the grunt work in a damaged home they’d be cleaning up a vacant lot somewhere.

  • Amy Everpean

    This is the perfect thing to help troubled teens! I recenlty sent my child to a troubled teen program at http://www.redcliffascent.com, and they did some amazing things like this center did. It totally helped my child change for the better.

  • Amy Evermean

    How great is it that they are giving kids the chance to rebuild while turning their life around. I recently sent my troubled son to http://www.redcliffascent.com and they did something similar with him. It was a great experience for him!