Sue Z Hart
Building Beyond the Walls Construction Training provides skills to individuals who have a desire to help on volunteer construction sites but who otherwise would be limited to unskilled volunteer duties. Our free program provides the skills volunteers need to be, and feel competent on a job site. Graduates agree to give 50 volunteer hours back to the community upon completing the construction training course. In the process of teaching the participants basic construction skills, a key component of the overall vision of Building Beyond the Walls is realized. Community can be built through efforts of a diverse group working in harmony to complete a complex goal; team/community building at its finest. By offering a program that teaches people skills that enables them to be a part of something bigger than themselves, we break down walls and build community. Participants find a new self-awareness and empowerment. At the end of each session, participants are asked to complete a course reflection survey. Routinely participants’ comment that the Building Beyond the Wall program is a “safe” environment in which to learn new skills and meet people with like-minded goals. To date, seven Building Beyond the Walls Construction Training's have been completed resulting in over 100 -trained volunteers with over 5,000 hours of volunteer time. Over 30% of our participants were people with disabilities. Based on the assigned value of $27.54 an hour we have added over $137,700 of time to our community. Building Beyond the Walls Construction Training participants represent a broad demographics including foreign exchange students, a college dean and faculty, students of construction and construction management, Habitat family partners, business owners, the homeless, city officials including a judge that worked side by side with an ex-con, as well as many other community members with diverse career paths.