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

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    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.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora