A Roanoke agency is proving that what you learn outside of the classroom is just as important as what you learn inside of the classroom.
Total Action for Progress, also known as TAP, celebrated ten years of its YouthBuild program on Thursday.
The program means jobs and homes for people in Roanoke.
For ten years, YouthBuild has helped provide homes to families in need and it's also given a second chance to those who never graduated from high school.
Andre Witcher said he now believes in second chances.
"It felt just like getting your high school diploma,” he said.
Witcher is one of the most recent grads in the program.
"I'm glad I found it,” said Witcher. “I didn't know TAP was running a good program like this, but it's amazing."
Witcher earned his GED in just two weeks, thanks to guidance from his instructor Nikki Edwards.
"My job is to make sure you get the best education possible,” she told WDBJ 7.
Edwards spends her time prepping students inside the classroom for work outside of the classroom.
"It gives them that little boost to be ready for employment when they get that GED and finish up they already know what it's like to get up every day and go to work and be here on time,” she said when describing the curriculum.
YouthBuild partners with Habitat for Humanity. Aside from the book work, students are busy building homes and learning about leadership and teamwork while they build homes for those in need.
Witcher said his time in the community helped to land him full time employment in Roanoke weeks after receiving his GED.
"They let you get hands on,” he said. “You're working with drills everything. It was like a real job. Every morning you’re doing construction work and when you're not you in class studying to get the GED."
Witcher said high school didn't work out for him and that's okay. TAP has opened his eyes to a new passion and journey in life.
"Education is a must,” he said. “My daughter loves school too. It's a must. I wanted to be a good role model for education”
Witcher currently works as a line cook at a local restaurant and isn’t stopping with his GED. He is getting ready to start spring classes at Virginia Western.
YouthBuild works with people anywhere from 16 to 24 years old.
Below is some statistics from the YouthBuild program:
Placement in Employment or Education 79.07 % (Goal 70%; nat'l average 2009 grantees 48.2%)
Attainment of Degree or Certificate 93.02 % (Goal 50%; nat'l average 2009 grantees 67.9%)
Literacy or Numeracy Gain 75 % (Goal 50%; nat'l average 2009 grantees 62%)
Recidivism 0 % (Goal < 20%)
Retention after Placement 93.55 % (Goal is 75% at 3 quarters after exit)