YouthBuild students gain construction experience

Steven Howes (left) and Jordan Kaminski lift the trusses onto the frame of the Manistee Habitat for Humaniy house with the help of Chris Bass.

Manistee’s third YouthBuild class is busy learning the construction trade both in the classroom and by completing community service projects, such as working on the Manistee County Habitat for Humanity house that is being built in Manistee on Maywood Avenue.

In addition to learning about construction, the students in YouthBuild are spending half of their time on academics so they can obtain a high school diploma or prepare to take the GED exam.

Barry Elder (left), Habitat for Humanity construction coordinator, explains to the YouthBuild students how to nail the trusses to the frame.

The program in Manistee is organized by Northwest Michigan Works!, and in the program the students can take advantage of long-term career planning and could quality for assistance for reliable transportation, affordable child care, and other family issues that could otherwise be barriers to success.

YouthBuild Manistee also integrates building leadership skills into every component of the program. The youth learn conflict resolution, peer mentoring and appropriate workplace behaviors. Community leaders will visit the students from time to time, sharing their own struggles and successes–and encouraging forward momentum.

Members of the YouthBuild crew helping at the Habitat for Humanity house were, from the left (front row) Randy Reed, Chris Bass,k Mike Waltrip, Tim Wright (staff), Jordan Kaminski, Jennnifer Huffman, (in the window) Bill Ford (staff), Ryan Grandy, Joy Gutowski, Steven Howes and Jennifer Washburn.

The current Manistee YouthBuild students, who will graduate from the program on Aug. 26, in addition to working on the Habitat for Humanity house in Manistee have also been helping remodel a Habitat house in Kaleva remodel, built 24 new raised beds for the Manistee community garden, built 11 beds for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, helped build a hoop house at a school in McbBain, plan to help build a hoop house at the Manistee community garden, cleared trails and build picnic tables at Orchard Beach State Park, completed projects for Grow Benzie, did work at Faith Covenant Church in Manistee and cleaned the Elberta beach on a monthly basis.

From the left, Barry Elder, Steven Howes and Ryan Grandy put the trusses in the right place.

Each of the students is required to complete at least 100 hours of such work, and some have more hours than that already.

Further information about the YouthBuild program is available at the website >

YouthBuild crews are working at the site of the Manistee County Habitat for Humanity home build on Maywood Drive in Manistee.


Posted by Dave Yarnell

Dave was formerly the News Advocate features writer and retired in November 2013.

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