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Nashville Project CRAFT Students Help Build Habitat for Humanity Homes

The Home Builders Institute's (HBI) Project CRAFT/Nashville joined forces last month with the Middle Tennessee Habitat for Humanity to help build two new homes for single-parent families.

HBI, the workforce development arm of NAHB, was awarded a $1.5 million grant last year by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Youth Offender Demonstration Initiative to bring Project CRAFT (Community Restitution Apprenticeship-Focused Training) to Tennessee.

Project CRAFT/Nashville students have been working with Middle Tennessee Habitat for Humanity since March, building floor systems and helping to finish several homes. The “September 2003 Build” provided the students with their first opportunity to work on a construction job from start to finish.

Working alongside experienced Habitat volunteers, the students were able to put into practice the skills they had learned during their training.

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Harry Baird, a volunteer in the Habitat home building effort and a retired GENSECO director of construction, said that, “If it had not been for the CRAFT trainees, our schedule would have been very difficult to keep.”

“If you wish to see how beautiful people really are on the inside, then build a Habitat home with them and your wish will come true,” said one of the CRAFT students who worked on the houses.

“These young men are working hard to rebuild their lives,” said HBI Trustee Jerry Strebel, a Nashville resident and frequent visitor to Project CRAFT. “It is the best of all worlds when they can do so while giving others the dream of homeownership through Habitat for Humanity.”

Project CRAFT’s award-winning combination of community service, skills training and leadership development has been recognized as a model for intervention programs.

Last month, the new online publication, “Aftercare Services”, produced by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), cited Project CRAFT as a model program for youth development.

For more information on Project CRAFT/Nashville, e-mail Dennis Torbett.

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