Siouxland student changes life - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Siouxland student changes life

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- Some Siouxland young people who've had their fair share of trouble with the law are getting a second chance.

Today, 10 students involved in the "Youth Build" program received a high school diploma or GED.

The program also gives students who are 16 to 24 the chance to help build homes in Sioux City for under privileged families.

Holding proof of his G-E-D in hand Justin Van Roekel is finally ready for the real world, but only a year ago he was headed in a different direction.

"I didn't really care where I was going, what I was doing with my life," said Justin Van Roekel.

He's only 19, but Justin life's took a trip down a dark path. He was in deep, doing and dealing drugs, ending up in the county jail.

"Pretty much you're just like a dog in a cage while you are there I didn't like that at all so once I got out my mentality just 180," said Van Roekel.

Justin wanted a different life, he wanted a second chance and "youth build" was there for him.

Teaching life building through actual building, "Youth Build" shows students how to hold a job and gives them the education they need to construct their future.

"We prepare them for the GED by offering basically like work sheets to make sure that they have all of the skills required to pass the GED," said Sioux City Youth Build Program Director Kari Langel.

After entering Justin became one of the program's best students, even being selected to represent "Youth Build" in Washington D.C.

"He's exactly what we want he knows that what we did in the past was wrong but he's going to take it and tell people don't do this... this is where it got me," said Langel.

Justin was written off in the past as just another delinquent, but now he has a chance to build his future, on the foundation of something good.

"No matter what happens in your life, no matter what you have done previously in your life, you will be able to change your life as long as you look forward to your goals," said Van Roekel.

Online Reporter: Forrest Saunders

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