Building Bright Futures

Building Bright Futures: Students Constructing Homes and Opportunities with Habitat for Humanity
Posted on 11/03/2023
student building house

During a recent site visit, Chairperson of the Board Pat Daly and Director of Education, David Hansen, were invited to witness the ongoing progress of the Habitat for Humanity Hamilton project involving 15 students from the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board.

Collaborating with a dedicated group of volunteers from Habitat for Humanity, these students are actively engaged in not only constructing homes but also nurturing hope. The experience provides a robust co-operative education placement, imparting valuable hands-on skills and readiness for potential careers in the construction and skilled trades industry. Under the guidance of committed educators, such as John Ivkovic, OYAP Coordinator Consultant, Joe Bozzo, Habitat Home Build Program Teacher, and Lisa Owens, Cooperative Education Teacher at St. John Henry Newman Catholic Secondary School, the students are deeply engaged in applying the teachings of service and compassion rooted in their Christian faith.

Speaking to students and teachers involved in the Habitat for Humanity Project, Daly commended the staff and students for their dedication and goodness. He indicated that their contribution to the construction of the homes is an inspiring example of skilled trades experiential learning and Christian Service. He shared the board's commitment to promoting skilled trades learning/training and thanked all involved in this wonderful partnership.

Initiated in 2010, the Habitat Home Build Program serves as a platform for students to gain hands-on experience, nurturing not only their construction skills but also the core values of their faith. Currently, the students are diligently working on constructing five townhouses for Habitat for Humanity at the corner of Sherman Avenue and Barton Street E.

For the co-op students, a significant portion engaged in full-day co-op programs, this placement offers invaluable trade experience in constructing enduring family homes for our community.

Additionally, this opportunity allows students to earn up to four construction/co-op credits. These credits contribute toward obtaining an OSSGD (Ontario Secondary School Graduation Diploma) and support the achievement of a SHSM (Specialist High Skills Major) designation specifically in Construction.

"Celebrating this valuable partnership, our students gain more than just hands-on construction experience,” said Owens. “They become stewards of the earth, actively giving back to families in need during the building process. This not only shapes their practical skills but also instills a deep sense of responsibility and community service."

Through cooperative education, students have the invaluable opportunity to apply their learning beyond the confines of a classroom, gaining hands-on experience and real-world skills, laying a foundation for their future endeavors.

"Our commitment extends beyond mere construction. It is about instilling values of service and community, equipping students with essential skills for their future," remarked Hansen. "The program offers students a comprehensive educational experience integrating practical learning, aligning with our Christian values."

"The students have displayed incredible commitment and growing proficiency not only in driving the construction process but also in various other skilled trades," added Ivkovic. "Their remarkable dedication and burgeoning expertise across these skilled trades speak volumes about their invaluable contribution to the industry's multifaceted landscape."

The educational endeavor continues to evolve, uniting students in a shared commitment to making a tangible difference, one nail, one wall, and one home at a time. The Habitat for Humanity partnership embodies the spirit of service and education, sculpting not just structures but also character and a compassionate worldview among students.

student buildingstaff and students pose in front of Habitat for Humanity housestudents buildingstudents pose in front of Habitat for Humanity houseHWCDSB staff pose in front of Habitat for Humanity house