Collin Harris was just a toddler when he and his family moved into their Sisters Habitat for Humanity home nearly 15 years ago. Last week, the high school senior was raising walls alongside his construction classmates for another Sisters Habitat family’s home.

Harris, who said he doesn’t remember moving into his house, has enjoyed the construction class at Sisters High School. He’s learned basic tool knowledge, worked with a fun team, and been able to use his skills in Sisters.

“It’s cool we get to help the community out and build a home for a family. It feels good to help people,” he said during the crew’s lunch break.

The students from Tony Cosby’s construction class at Sisters High School spent the semester building the walls for future homeowner Krista Palmer and her two boys. “One of my guys is super excited to do this one day,” she said of her fourth-grader wanting to be in the construction class.

For the seniors in the class it was their last day of high school. Alex Garbrecht, another student who lives in a home built through the Habitat program, started taking Cosby’s classes his junior year. He’s taken beginning woods, engineering, manufacturing and construction courses. “These are skills that I can apply to my life,” he said.

Harris is already applying his construction skills to his life. Three weeks ago, he started working with Hull’s Construction.

During the course of the class, students learn to read house plans and frame and build walls. Then they stand the walls at the high school to make sure everything fits together. The walls are then brought to the job site and raised one at a time. Palmer was able to help secure the walls to the foundation of her future home.

“This is really a great relationship,” Cosby said of the partnership with his students and Sisters Habitat. “This is becoming a great neighborhood,” he added referring to Habitat’s Village Meadows community. Cosby has mentored students through this process for nearly 10 years, and students have constructed walls for four homes so far in Village Meadows.

Sisters Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. Sisters Habitat was established in 1991 and since then has helped 65 families build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.

Local families who think they might qualify for a Habitat home can review the homeownership guidelines at www.sistershabitat.


Anyone interested in volunteering at the construction site, Thrift Store or ReStore is asked to attend a volunteer orientation, which is offered on the first and third Wednesday of each month at noon at the Habitat offices. For more information call 541-549-1193.