Macon, Ga. - Two students at Central Georgia Technical College (CGTC) spent spring break in the house, and not one hosting a party. Rogeric Watkins and Kenneth Davis mentored young residents and modeled construction techniques in a Macon Area Habitat for Humanity (MAHFH) project.
Watkins, a student in the Instrumentation and Controls program, and Davis, Construction Management and Accounting, served as site supervisors overseeing the work of nine boys on minor projects for elderly residents in an outreach for the MAHFH entitled, A Brush with Kindness (ABWK).
MAHFH’s ABWK projects are designed to engage middle to high school aged resident youth during their spring break with senior residents in need of simple home repairs and modification that support the revitalization efforts in their Lynmore Estates neighborhood.
MAHFH conducted a pilot of the ABWK program in 2016, which seeded interest for this year’s project and opportunities for future projects. According to Dr. Sundra Woodford, MAHFH’s community relations manager, the involvement of good mentors with quality skills complemented the overall objectives for the project nicely.
“This intergenerational outreach provides an opportunity for youth to engage with senior homeowners by providing minor repairs and upgrades they may not be able to perform themselves or may have not had the resources or help to accomplish on their own,” Woodford said. “The implementations conducted during this project help these homeowners to have their houses be more accommodating, allowing them to age in place, at home.”
“We are so grateful to have CGTC students to partner with us in this,” she said, adding that the outreach facilitated a unique and beneficial “bridge” between boys, young men, and the elderly.
Watkins and Davis decided to volunteer after being encouraged by their CGTC Raising Expectations of Achievement (REACH) program advisor, Valarie Edwards, who said she passed the information to two “really good guys,” who she knew would get involved.
The REACH program provides faculty mentors who build a relationship with the students and act as a guide for them through their college experience.
“The CGTC students were instrumental,” Woodford said. “They were mentoring guys that they could identify with and help in a little bit of goal-setting and planning.”
With direction from Watkins and Davis, the youth ambassadors learned what a construction career entails by installing d-type cabinet handles, lever door handles, sprinkler shower heads, doorbells, and giving instruction in the proper use of grabbers, two-step stools, and fire extinguishers.
“We wanted to help give back to the community and also show the younger kids that there are more things you can do to have people look up to you besides what you see people doing on TV,” Watkins said.
Watkins and Davis said the boys responded positively to their advice and instruction. They shared breakfast, prayers, hard work and good laughs during the day, always talking about how they can do things for people to better themselves.
Both Watkins and Davis admitted not knowing what to expect going into the outreach, but were pleased to have taken something from it.
“Having the kids there showed me how to lead people and guide people in the right direction. It allowed me to use my communication and construction management skills,” said Davis, who knows that everyone from peers to potential employers will look at his character and how he treats people. “My program has given me job-quality skills that I could relate back to them on many levels. It is being attentive, following directions and those two things are really important to anyone.”
For more information about the Macon Area Habitat for Humanity contact, Dr. Sundra Woodford firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the REACH program at CGTC contact, Rolandria Tolbert, at email@example.com
Attachment: CGTC student, Kenneth Davis, instructs resident youth implementing universal design modifications for senior home owners in the Lynmore Estates neighborhood. Davis, along with fellow CGTC student, Rogeric Watkins, spent their spring break volunteering for the Macon Area Habitat for Humanity.