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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- They have taken in everyone from car thieves, to high school dropouts and convicted felons. And it has now earned YouthBuild Louisville a trip to the White House.
YouthBuild focuses on helping troubled youth make drastic changes. Young people like Ebony Murray.
"I have two children," says Murray.
Murray is a single parent and was even recently homeless. But these days she's back on track.
"I had to swallow my pride and go to a shelter," Murray said. "I knew that was best for me and my kids. "I gave up, I really did. I gave up. I needed something that I had to get up and be productive everyday ... and YouthBuild provides that for me."
Over the years, YouthBuild Louisville has done that for hundreds of troubled young people.
"So over the last 12 years, we've had over 350 young people graduate from the program," said Lynn Rippy, Executive Director of YouthBuild Louisville.
That success now has the attention of the White House. "When we got the invitation to the White House we were thrilled," Rippy said.
On Thursday, Rippy will travel to DC with a graduate of the program, Marcus McCormick.
"It was either dead or jail, like it was wicket for me," McCormick said.
In a student-produced video, McCormick talks about his troubled past that included "stealing cars, selling drugs, robbing houses, robbing people."
In Washington, Rippy will share how YouthBuild has helped people like Marcus and Ebony with education, job skills and job placement.
"So I think we'll be talking to policy makers in Washington, I think we'll be speaking to elected officials and we'll also be talking to other program leaders like ourselves," Rippy said.
Lawmakers will hear about students rehabbing old houses, climbing a ladder for OSHA training and the importance of the outdoor classroom, all tools Ebony Murray is using to stay on track.
"I want to leave this program with everything that they have to offer--construction, with CNA, anything that they have to offer, OSHA, I want it," Murray said.
YouthBuild also works with dozens of local businesses to place students after graduation.