How many students get the opportunity to give back and prepare for their futures at the same time? Approximately 50 students from the Nassau BOCES Joseph M. Barry Career & Technical Education Center (Barry Tech) did just that, offering their services to the world-renowned Habitat for Humanity organization. These Barry Tech humanitarians worked to build a new Habitat home right here in Nassau County.
Carpentry, construction electricity and plumbing students contributed to a variety of fundamental construction work, including roof framing, installation of insulation and windows, and running wiring and piping. This particular Habitat home had to meet the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which meant the Barry Tech workers got a crash course in ADA compliance. All entrances, both interior and exterior, had to be wheelchair accessible, and certain areas required special construction, such as a wheelchair ramp leading up to the entryway, and the creation of a custom bathroom and shower area.
The Barry Tech students gained as much as they gave during the Habitat build. The students got invaluable on-the-job training and were able to apply 21st-century career skills in a real-life situation. Such projects enable students to put their skills to use, helping them to become college and career ready upon graduation.
“Involvement in a project like this motivates our students to greater academic achievement,” says John Broderick, a Barry Tech work experience teacher coordinator. “Each and every student participates, regardless of skill-level. In addition to invaluable training, they get an opportunity to give back to their community. With the ADA component, our students learned how to help someone with specific needs to meet those needs in a day-to-day living environment.”