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Once a murderer, now a CEO: Ex-con works to turn youth around

  • In this Nov. 22, 2016, photograph by John Valverde, right, speaks during a meeting sitting next to Chiffawn Johnson, left, a talent acquisition manager and human resources generalist at YouthBuild USA, Inc., in Somerville, Mass. In January 2017, Valverde is about to take over as CEO of the organization, which helps young, low-income inner city failure to reclaim their lives. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

    (Associated Press)

  • In this Nov. 22, 2016 photo John Valverde stands for a portrait at YouthBuild USA, Inc., in Somerville, Mass. In January 2017, Valverde is about to take over as CEO of YouthBuild USA, Inc., an international organization that helps young, low-income inner city failure to reclaim their lives. Valverde is not your typical corporate executive: He worked 16 years in prison for fatally shooting his girlfriend’s rapist at point-blank range. While in prison, he did his best to redeem the time, earning two university degrees, teaching fellow inmates how to read and write and work as a HIV/AIDS counselor. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

    (Associated Press)

  • In this Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 photo John Valverde, right, speaks during a meeting sitting next to Chiffawn Johnson, left, a talent acquisition manager and human resources generalist at YouthBuild USA, Inc., in Somerville, Mass. In January 2017, Valverde is about to take over as CEO of the organization, which helps young, low-income inner city failure to reclaim their lives. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

    (Associated Press)

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SOMERVILLE, Mass. – The new leader of YouthBuild usa is not your typical CEO.

John Valverde worked 16 years in prison for the killing of a man accused of raping his girlfriend.

While in prison, Valverde earned two university degrees, taught fellow prisoners to read and write, and worked as a HIV/AIDS counselor.

Next week he will take over as chief executive officer of YouthBuild, a Somerville, Massachusetts-based non-profit organization that programs aimed at helping young, low-income dropouts get the skills they need to land jobs, and be leaders of the community.

Valverde said he thinks it’s important for him to be honest about his past with the young people he tries to help. One in three has a criminal record.

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