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Teens give family home extreme makeover | News

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Teens give family home extreme makeover
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Bradenton, Florida - Weeks turn into days and, now, hours for Manatee High School's Key Club and volunteers to finish their extreme makeover of a single mother's home. Club members call the project the "Extreme Keyover."

It's New Year's Eve and the home's unveiling is set for 5 p.m. Dozens of teens work on touching up walls, caulking, installing carpet and grouting.

Photo Gallery: Extreme Home Makeover

"It's overwhelming but we've got to keep working," says Kara Inglis, 16, 11th grader at Manatee High School and a Key Club member. She's in charge of finishing up the bathroom, touching up paint and cleaning up.

The teens, with help from the community, have gutted the 1,200 square foot 4-bedroom house off 58th Avenue. The work began in early December. The Key Club convinced businesses to donate supplies, labor and time.

"We've done everything from the electrical, the plumbing, flooring, bathrooms, kitchen, appliances and drywall," explains Mary Elizabeth Woodward, 16, 11th grader at Manatee High School and Key Club member.

The renovation has taken more that $70,000 in supplies, countless hours of labor and a lot of heart. "We're giving them a safe, efficient, manageable, livable home they can enjoy," says Mary Elizabeth.

Kara says the payoff for her is helping a family in need.  The family is Edna Greo, a single mother of two, who's caring for her father and extended family in her home.

Jerry Parrish with the Manatee County YMCA says they picked Edna Greo because of her hard work with her family and in the community. Volunteers say fixing her home is the first step in revitalizing a neighborhood plagued with gang violence.

Parrish says, "It's not just that we change a family's life, we change a neighborhood. To stop gangs, we have to bring positive, positive, positive stuff so gangs stop being generational."

Parrish says it's not a black or white issue but an issue of humanity and it's everyone in a community working together helping each other.

It's 1:00p.m. The clock is ticking as one volunteer shouts out, "Four hours left!"

The team of volunteers step up the pace and, as the painting and cleaning up is going on, others begin furnishing the home.

It's time for Edna Greo and her family to see their new house. They arrive in a white limousine. A Manatee County school bus pulls away from the front of the house to unveil it's new exterior. The house is painted in a pale green color with white trimming, new windows, new landscaping, a new porch and a new fence.

Edna says in a quiet voice, "I like it."

She cuts a red ribbon at the steps of her new porch and a crowd of about a 100 people, including volunteers, their families and county commissioners, applaud and cheer. Edna steps into her new living room and hardly recognizes her own home. "It's all new," says a stunned Edna.

She enters what used to be a car port and is now her master bedroom suite. "I never thought this would happen to me," she says.

Edna hugs some of the young volunteers. "Thank you. I know it was a lot of hard work," she adds.

The Greo family has a new start to the new year. "It's a new beginning. We get to start again with a new house."

The teens say the experience has inspired them to take on more projects helping other families in the community. "It's changed our lives," says Mary Elizabeth. "We've learned never to take anything for granted."

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