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Keeping a Promise

A former drug addict changed his life and is now helping others do the same.

James Smallwood, 62, started The Choice Is Yours by accident.

Almost 20 years ago, he ran across a group of single mothers in Camden, N.J., who were duped into buying dilapidated houses.

"They found themselves prostituting themselves to contractors to get things fixed," Smallwood says. "I didn't want to see ladies selling themselves just so they could get a faucet repaired."

Smallwood, a carpenter by trade, used a $5,000 grant to teach these women basic plumbing and carpentry skills so they could maintain their own homes.

Five years later, that experience inspired him to develop a 13-week program aimed at teaching ex-offenders, single mothers and anyone else in need of a hands-on trade. Whenever he has funding, Smallwood runs the class five nights a week. … Back to Article

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