News / USA

Students Build Homes for Needy Families

Students in the Eagle Nest Construction Academy work on the foundation of a home which will house a low-income family next year.
Students in the Eagle Nest Construction Academy work on the foundation of a home which will house a low-income family next year.

Multimedia

Audio

On a sandy lot in the small, growing city of Delray Beach, Florida, seven teenagers are hammering and shoveling in the hot mid-day sun. The Atlantic High students are members of the school’s Eagle Nest Construction Academy, which builds houses for low-income families on land donated by the city.

The program is open to boys and girls in the 9th through 12th grades. They study drafting, design and construction, then use those skills to build the homes.

“They learn A to Z, then pick which they like better, then specialize in that," says Amanda Orndorff, who coordinates the program. "If they like the drafting side, they focus on that. If they like the actual building, they can focus on that.”

Student Daniel Norzea (right) and instructor Tim Sachse work together at the construction site.
Student Daniel Norzea (right) and instructor Tim Sachse work together at the construction site.

After learning the basics of safety and the fundamentals of design and building from instructor Tim Sachse, students interested in construction move with him to the work site.

“The way the program works is a stepping stone process," says Sachse, an engineer. "Construction isn’t just about hammering things together. It deals with lots of problem solving along the way and that’s probably one of those things that cannot be written in a textbook.”

About 25 students are currently working on a three-bedroom, two-bath house. Ten to 15 are on site at any one time. While on the job, they all must wear hard hats, safety glasses and heavy boots.

Senior Daniel Norzea says he and his classmates started this house in late October, building it literally from the ground up.

“It was a lot filled with grass, so we had to dig out the grass. We had to level it. Now we got through with the plumbing. We put in the footers - which is the outside area of the house - where we’ll pour the cement so we can wrap up for the summer.”

Nearby, Fladimir Celunice works on a corner of the house, where he is carefully measuring. "They all have to measure up to 12 inches. We’re pouring cement in there, and then it has to be leveled.”

Student Fladimir Celunice checks to make sure his installation is level.
Student Fladimir Celunice checks to make sure his installation is level.

Local contractors donate materials and services to the program. A local architect rendered the final plan for the house, with input from Academy students during the drafting process.  In the early stages, Daniel Norzea and a classmate took the rough blueprints to city officials.

“Every aspect we’ve learned from - the engineering aspects, measurements, what works, the building codes, zoning codes," he says. "We really learned a lot.”

About 200 students have come through the Eagle Nest program since it began five years ago. This is the second house academy students have built. It’s being constructed according to green building standards. Many of the materials - like floor boards and concrete blocks - are recycled. Students will install insulated walls, energy efficient appliances and double pane windows.

Program coordinator Amanda Orndorff says environmental considerations are a new focus for a lot of the kids.

“They’re learning the concepts in the classroom and then we’re really applying them on the job site. Even as far as teaching the kids that sometimes, it’s not about just using recycled products but a product that maybe closer to your location, because it uses less fuel and creates less waste. So that's kind of a new concept for them.”

Although many of the students sign up for the program because they want to do construction after graduation from high school, some realize the building trades are not for them, and start looking for other careers.

But others, like Daniel Norzea, are here solely for the knowledge the experience offers. “I don’t want to pay a plumber or someone to come fix my house when I know how to do it myself.”

His classmate, Shligton Estime, who plans to go into structural or civil engineering, has been in the academy program for four years. He says this year has been especially exciting.

“We’re actually building it - not just reading about it or drawing it on paper. We’re building the house.”

The house is expected to be completed and ready for a family to move in the first half of next year.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More