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WDEL's Delaware EducationWatch
with Amy Cherry


Wilmington's Challenge Program changes lives

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The Challenge Center gets $55,000 from Chase Bank to continue the the vital vocational training they provide for underprivileged and high-risk youth.

The Challenge Program's headquarters on the banks of the Christina River serves as place for at-risk teens to build things they never thought they could.

Their latest project? Reconstruction of an 1889 Jackson & Sharp train car.

Desmond Elliott: "It's taken some time, but it's coming together pretty nice."

Elliott always dreamed of building something like this.

Elliott: "As a kid, I've always wanted to work in a wood shop. So when I'm building stuff like this, it's really exciting."

18-year-old Carlos Velez says it's been hard work.

Carlos Velez: "It's been great, you know what I mean? We've done every by hand, every single thing by hand. we've done the window post; all the flooring was done by hand a couple weeks ago so it's a really good project to keep a tab on."

They've even built tabletops for restaurants like Talula's Garden in Philadelphia

19-year-old Andre Harley from Wilmington says the Challenge Center steered him down a new path.

Andre Harley: "The neighborhood I came from was known as a drug known area, so I'm not going to say I would've probably been involved with that, but I probably would've been sitting around being a low life, really."

Velez says the Challenge Center challenges you to change your life.

Velez: "The Challenge Program is probably the the best place I've ever come to in my life. I love it here, and I will come visit every single time I can, and I love this Challenge Program."

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