More than 50 youth from Heart of Oregon Corps YouthBuild and the Sisters High School construction class will help with Sisters Habitat for Humanity’s next two homes. Last week, the future Habitat homeowners celebrated the beginning of the building process by breaking ground at the home- sites in the Village Meadows neighborhood.

The Likens family will be working alongside the Heart of Oregon Corps YouthBuild crew. YouthBuild Program Director Kara Johnson told the crowd that 40 youth will be in the program throughout the summer and many will be working on the house at the Village Meadows neighborhood. She introduced Construction Lead Joey Scotten who will work with the students and Habitat’s Construction Manager Darleene Snider. The YouthBuild students have been spending the past two months in a construction class earning their NCCER Certificate and will be out at the job site this month. This home will be the third home to be built in partnership with the two organizations.

Heart of Oregon Corps is a nonprofit organization invested in inspiring and empowering change in the lives of Central Oregon youth through jobs, education, and stewardship. Their programming creates pathways out of poverty while stimulating regional economic growth. They apply a “work-earn-learn” model that invests in local young people, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds, to prepare them for the workforce and to encourage their self-sufficiency.

The YouthBuild students won’t be the only ones working on a Habitat house this spring. Sisters High School’s construction students will build the walls of the home for the Palmer family. They will be under the direction of Construction Teacher Tony Cosby. Once the walls are built, they will raise the walls with the family. Several of Cosby’s students attended the groundbreaking event and shared how much they enjoy the construction class and their teacher.

“This is really a fun student project,” Cosby told the crowd. “It’s great that they get a connection to the community and Habitat for Humanity.”

For the past seven years, Cosby’s students have built walls for Habitat homes.

“The process of becoming a homeowner can sometimes take up to two years,” Sisters Habitat’s Executive Director Sharlene Weed said. “Families go through an application process and once selected earn sweat equity hours by volunteering at the Thrift Store, ReStore or construction site.”

Once groundbreaking happens they are able to work alongside the construction crew whether it’s the YouthBuild team or the Habitat volunteers and staff.

Sisters-area residents interested in Habitat homeownership or the repair program can review the qualification guidelines on their website, www.sistershabitat.org/housing-programs. Youth interested in working with Heart of Oregon can visit www.heartoforegon.org/programs.