Vocational students in Philadelphia are rehabbing houses as an after-school activity, reports the Inquirer. One team is working on a former drug house.
For two hours a day, five days a week, the students strip floors, frame walls, install plumbing, paint rooms, and lay tile.
But the members of a construction after-school club are also learning about the value of a job done well, the satisfaction of transforming a neighborhood eyesore.
Bok High’s first house took four years to gut and remodel; it sold to a first-time buyer for $75,000, which pays for supplies and $5 hourly salaries for students.
Construction club members aren’t allowed to work on the house unless they’ve gone to class, which has boosted attendance.
Andrew Meak, 16, a junior, paused from prepping the kitchen for its paint job.
“Maybe it’s a guy thing,” he said, shrugging. “I really like learning how to do stuff.”
I saw this on a visit to ISUS in Dayton, Ohio, a dropout-recovery charter school that lets construction students build houses from scratch and rebuild historic homes with green technology. For kids who aren’t academically inclined, hands-on learning — with a realistic shot at a job if they master the skills — is very motivating.