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Project JumpStart Saving Baltimore Lives By Teaching Trades

BALTIMORE (WJZ)-- The construction companies that build our skylines are always looking for people who will show up on time everyday and do a good job.

One man from West Baltimore says his pathway to becoming a carpenter saved his life.

While still in high school, star athlete Shawn Logan knew he had to get out of Edmondson Village.

"I had 'bout 14, 15 childhood friends from in that neighborhood--only two left," Logan said.

His mom was locked up, and he and his sister tried to make rent. His god mother took them in, but college and dead-end jobs didn't work out. Then six years ago, he found Project JumpStart.

"Going to class two times a week, it keeps me away from all the negativity, which we have a lot of in Baltimore, it gets me away from the negativity and, you know, some learning... basically, learn learn learn," he said.

He became a laborer, the lowest rung on the ladder, but Logan had bigger ideas.

"Went from a laborer to a skilled laborer, to a carpenter, to a carpenter/foreman," he said.

He did so well, his boss listened to him when he said he wanted to become a carpenter.

"Everyone has something in their past that they're not proud of, or they don't want, and I'm looking for--OK. Is that the past? If that's the past, you know, we can move on," Blair Radney of Plano-Coudon said.

"JumpStart, basically, pushes you to be out in the work world today," Logan said.

More than 650 people have graduated from Project JumpStart, most succeed.

"They're very loyal, it's almost like a family," Radney said.

Logan has his sights set even higher.

"I want to be a project manager," he said.

Project JumpStart is having a fundraising gala Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel.

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