CRAFT Students Serve the Community in Jackson, Mississippi
Continuing to be an inspiration in the Jackson area, students from the Home Builders Institute's (HBI) Project CRAFT/Mississippi worked recently with the parks and recreation department on a large-scale landscaping and beautification project for many of the city’s gateways.
Students from HBI's Project CRAFT/Mississippi helped improve living conditions in the Jackson area following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Allen Jones, manager of the City of Jackson’s Building, Grounds and Parks Division, wrote that the CRAFT (Community, Restitution, Apprenticeship-Focused Training) students were to be commended for “their hard work and overall helpfulness” in completing the project. “We thank you and look forward to working with you again,” he said.
The CRAFT students worked tirelessly last September to help improve living conditions in the Jackson area following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina by unloading supply trucks, removing fallen trees, clearing space for temporary housing, building shelters for the Jackson Animal Rescue League, and more.
CRAFT/Mississippi offers residential construction trades and related skills training and job placement to adjudicated youths 19 and under living in Hinds, Rankin, Madison and Warren counties.
The students also recently helped prepare Jackson’s famous Thalia Mara Hall for its annual International Ballet Competition.
The students have also been lending their skills to individuals in need. Mary Johnson's decrepit home caught the eye of contractor Dennis Warren, who approached Jackson Mayor Frank Melton about sponsoring a rebuilding effort. Thanks to monetary donations, plus the hard work of Project CRAFT students and others, life-long Jackson resident Mary Johnson will soon be moving into a new home.
“The students get a real sense of personal accomplishment when they see what the new skills they are learning every day can do to make such a difference in a person’s life,” said HBI Project Coordinator Dennis Ayers. “This can make such an impact on some students, that it becomes a first step in the long road to a new sense of self-esteem.”
Project CRAFT averages an 85% placement rate among its graduates and has received congressional recognition as a model intervention for adjudicated youth. In Mississippi, Project CRAFT is operated through a partnership with the Mississippi Department of Human Services/Office of Youth Services.
HBI, 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.