Sounds a little crazy, right? That's just what the Department of Juvenile Justice told us as well....
Now almost three years and many challenges later quite a few heads are turning to reflect on a unique program designed to teach incarcerated youth meaningful life skills.
The Shalom Homes YouthBuild program is a construction education, leadership, and career development program focused on improving the lives of young adults between the ages of 17-22. What makes it so unique is that services are provided inside of Bon Air and Beaumont Juvenile Detention Centers. Students receive work related certifications, education assistance for completing a GED or High School diploma, and on the job construction skills.
"Students have hands on opportunities to work with many different tools common in the construction trade while still incarcerated; essentially, we brought the worksite to them" shares Tonya Friend part of the Shalom Homes team. Appropriately, the motto for the non-profit is "Build Health, Building Wealth, Building Homes."
Students worked on panels and framing for a modular home that will be donated to a disabled United States veteran on a project in Petersburg. One of the many highlights of the project was being able to share pictures of the progress with the students on the home that they helped build. Seeing the standing house gave participants a feeling of accomplishment and worth, knowing that they had a hand in building someone a home.
With newfound skills and confidence, students are entering the workforce more prepared and better equipped to make healthy productive decisions. All because of power tools behind bars.
Progress is coming along at the build site as the interior appliances and fixtures are being installed. Shalom Homes is thankful to it's many partners who have helped with this worthwhile project.
Stay tuned for more stories as we begin a series of blog posts dedicated to our education, employment, and health programs. Thank you for your continued support as we work together to open doors to opportunity.