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Local kids build more attainable homes in Newtown

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - More attainable homes are coming to Newtown, and a group of kids and teens are taking credit for making the project a reality.

No one is living in the home at 2953 Links Avenue, but it's already captured the heart of one family. The volunteer builders are not related by blood, but are connected through brotherhood.

"I just expect to see a smile on everyone else's faces," said volunteer home builder Isaac Cedeno, who is a member of Brotherhood of Men.

17-year-old Cedeno believes he is the big brother of the tribe with 40 young men looking up to him. He has a mentor himself: Brotherhood of Men's founder, Dominic Harris, also known as "Uncle Dom."

"It takes just that one person that you believe in, that you want to make proud," said Harris of his mentor as a child. "And that's what we try to provide to these young men."

The at risk kids learn the skills needed to enter the workforce through the non-profit, along with team building, relationships, financial, and life skills. The boys and teens also getting their first taste of carpentry, electric, and plumbing while refurbishing the property in Newtown. According to Harris, the construction does more than give them a taste of adulthood.

"Building a house gives them a sense of belonging, a sense of 'I can do it,'" explained Harris. "A sense of helping the community."

"Iif other people look at what I'm doing, to other society, that will impact their life so they can improve society and it has a big domino effect," explained Cedeno.

The City of Sarasota donated four vacant lots in north Sarasota. The home on Links Avenue is the first of the projects, and it's expected to help the community by creating affordable housing that is also attainable.

"If we can have communities that have attainable housing, it reduces congestion on the streets. It creates a better neighborhood environment. The folks that live in our community can actually contribute and it improves the property base for every community," said Sarasota Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie.

The young men and professional contractors spent hundreds of hours making the american dream a reality for one family, but Isaac believes it's about the journey, and not the destination.

"I took it a little bit more serious because I knew what they were teaching me was resourceful," said Isaac of the project.

Brotherhood of Men hopes to sell the home to the family of one of its' members. The group plans to build and refurbish homes on three other lots in the city on 21st Street, 32nd Street, and Osprey Avenue.