CRAFT Students Make Bonnet House Hurricane Repairs
On the scene in the immediate aftermath of last year’s devastating hurricanes, students participating in the Home Builders Institute’s (HBI) Project CRAFT (Community, Restitution, Apprenticeship-Focused, Training) continue to apply their skills to help the communities affected by the storms.
As part of the rehabilitation process, the congressionally-recognized Project CRAFT provides adjudicated youths with training in the residential construction trades geared to helping them find employment when they graduate from the program. A major component of the curriculum is community service.
Project CRAFT students in Jackson, Miss. spent weeks last fall providing immediate assistance to parts of their state battered by Hurricane Katrina by loading and unloading supply trucks, removing fallen trees and clearing space for temporary housing for displaced families.
More recently, CRAFT students in Pembroke Pines, Fla. have been helping to restore Fort Lauderdale’s 35-acre Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, whose grounds represent five different ecosystems.
The high winds of Hurricane Wilma severely damaged the historic landmark’s entrance and walkways, making them a difficult challenge for visitors, many of whom are senior citizens using canes, walkers and wheelchairs.
Project CRAFT Coordinator Florence Ward and Instructor Raymond Guzman visited the museum to see how the students could help, and everyone agreed that building a wheelchair accessible walkway and ramp would be a great project for the students. For five days, the students worked on the walkway, first digging down one foot and removing roots, rocks and debris.
The CRAFT students were praised for their “hard work and professional behavior” in a letter from Linda Schaller, director of education and volunteer programs at Bonnet House. “Each person that came to our museum saw the students hard at work and all of our other volunteers enjoyed speaking with and watching the team work,” she added.
In fact, the museum was so pleased with the job that they asked the students to assist in two other projects currently underway.
Home Builders Institute, the workforce development arm of NAHB, operates Project CRAFT training programs at seven sites in Florida, Tennessee and Mississippi.
For more information on Project CRAFT, e-mail Dennis Torbett at HBI, or call him at 800-795-7955 x8908.