‘They can get to a better place’: A second chance success story

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– Second chances can be hard to come by, and sometimes it’s just the leap of faith someone needs to get back on track, especially when it’s given at a young age.

Meet Jordan Borbely. He was a high school dropout, feeling like there was little to look forward to. These days you wouldn’t recognize that person in Jordan, all because one group gave him another shot.

“For me, this was the best opportunity I had,” he added.

With a little elbow grease, the feeling of accomplishment, and something to look forward to, teens and young adults are getting back on track. They’re all a part of YouthBuild, a program started by the Housing Authority of Champaign County to help at-risk youth earn their high school diploma, and get a good job.

“YouthBuild just presents an opportunity for kids that are on their last stop, last chance,” Borbley shared. “…Anyone who can no longer fit into the traditional school setting.”

Borbley joined the program in 2020. He has since earned his high school degree and is working on his college diploma. He came back to instruct and help others find the way.

The other half of YouthBuild is about learning a skill: construction. There are a number of certifications they can get through the program.

“This is the just of it here,” Borbley said, as we stood outside a house the crew was working on.

“Community service, education and construction. And that’s what this whole program is all about.”

When we met up with the current group, they were cleaning a house in Champaign. Soon it will be transitional housing, something Borbley says is in big need.

He also plans to make a career out of these skills.

“Prior to YouthBuild, you know, I was a high school dropout without many opportunities, people that wouldn’t even look my way. This set me up entirely for the future,” Borbley concluded. “I mean, really, I have a lot more to look forward to.”

He said despite the violence plaguing our community, and everyone’s personal hardships, there is always hope.

“I hope people see this and understand that they can get to a better place, no matter where they’re at right now,” Borbley shared.

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