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Students build dog houses for charity
A wood-working class, a socially-conscious teacher, and a grant have all led to the first of many charity projects.
Wood-working students at Amiskwaciy Academy in Edmonton recently donated 12 dog houses that they had built to the Second Chance Animal Society. The dog houses are just one of the many charity projects Larry Moro, administrator of the school’s woodworking program, has his students working on.
Amiskwaciy Academy accessed $10,000 in funding through a Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant. The building company’s website states that the grant is aimed at encouraging students to improve their school campus, the surrounding community or can be put towards curriculum delivery. Lowe’s donates $5 million to over 1,000 schools in North America annually.
“We were fortunate enough to get it and will use the money for tools and equipment but also for materials so the students can build some projects that will be donated to non-profit organizations,” Moro said. “We are building Adirondack chairs and other patio equipment that we could donate to a senior’s retirement home, and cedar planters for other organizations.”
The students, grades 7 to 12, are learning valuable carpentry skills but also get a chance to feel the rewards of giving to a helping organization by donating the pieces that they build, he added.
Moro is from Sioux Narrows originally and had worked in the hospitality industry before making a career change and apprenticing in a wood-working program.
“I worked a couple of years as a cabinet maker, then spent six years as Mr. Mom during which time I went back to school and finished my education degree,” he said. “It’s been fun and rewarding.”
The number of students in the wood-working program at Amiskwaciy Academy varies from semester to semester, but averages between 20 and 30.
“Down the road we may build some sheds which we could sell on a cost-recovery basis, so we could continue to purchase material,” Moro said. “We do have a small budget to run the program but obviously with additional funding, we could look at better equipment and more projects that could challenge the kids.”
Moro is pleased to note that there are a good number of girls who sign up for the wood-working class every year.
“It could lead to a career for all the students, and it’s also good to have the extra knowledge that wood-working gives if they are considering going into interior design or architecture. They get a better appreciation of what it actually takes to build something,” he said, adding that it’s also useful to have basic carpentry skills for around the house.
Amiskwaciy Academy is an Edmonton Public School that provides academic programming within an Aboriginal context and is open to students of all ethnic backgrounds. The name is a Cree word for Beaver Hills and the students have the opportunity to participate in traditional ceremonies and Indigenous arts.
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