Students in big build
A construction project that was started to provide a home for a needy family has resulted in a class of teens laying the foundations for their careers.
A simple four-bedroom house on the grounds of Onehunga High School is the product of seven months of swinging hammers by the students from the school's building and construction course.
The house, which was built for charity Habitat for Humanity, will soon be moved to a property in Mangere where it will become the cherished home of a single mother who is studying for a career in social work.
Teacher David Eastwood says the first-time project was quite a step up for the class, which has previously built small cabins, gazebo and done other small maintenance jobs.
"It's given the boys a bit of mana within the school as all their peers see this thing happening," he says.
"For some of the boys it's actually turned them around a bit in the sense that they weren't actually focused in a normal classroom, but they've been able to excel in a different environment."
The build project was initiated by the Onehunga-One Tree Hill Rotary Club after a member suggested the idea, representative Ernie Meyer says.
A three-way partnership was quickly formed between the club, the school and the charity.
"The whole community benefits from it and that's what it's all about," Mr Meyer says. "From Rotary's point of view, it's Rotary working in the community for the community."
Mr Meyer, who acted as the project manager, says the students have impressed with their hard work ethos.
"When we were planning all this we thought we would have to bring volunteers in to keep to schedule. But each stage we were on target, in fact, ahead."
Student Alex Wells says he took the construction course because he enjoys hands-on work over sitting in a classroom.
"I'm keen for a new experience and it turned out quite well," he says.
"At the start I didn't think it would turn into a house, but as it progressed it's turned into quite a nice house."
It has opened doors for the 17-year-old who, since starting on the dwelling, has also been working with a roofing company once a week.
The project has had quite a bit of input from the wider community with materials and time being donated by industry professionals.
Conrad LaPointe from Habitat for Humanity says these sorts of builds are special because they ripple though so many facets of the community.
"It's so great to see kids not only gaining qualifications, but also gaining an understanding about life, about the housing shortage in Auckland, and about people in need," he says.
Habitat for Humanity has the goal of eliminating sub-standard housing by building, renovating and selling simple, decent houses on an affordable basis.
The mother-of-three who will move into the house was selected from about 19 families.
She will purchase the home on a rent-to-own basis, with the money going back into the organisation.
To date Habitat for Humanity has helped 550 Kiwis into new homes.
Visit habitat.org.nz for more information.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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