Members of the Niles High School wrestling team lent their strength last week to the Niles-Buchanan Habitat for Humanity as they move through the first stages of construction on a new home being built on Hill Street in Niles. (Daily Star photo/Provided)
Members of the Niles High School wrestling team lent their strength last week to the Niles-Buchanan Habitat for Humanity as they move through the first stages of construction on a new home being built on Hill Street in Niles. (Daily Star photo/Provided)

Archived Story

Kids make helping a habit

Published 9:09am Thursday, September 24, 2009

By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star

Work has started on the latest Habitat for Humanity house and area students are doing their part to help out.

Construction started earlier this month on a new Habitat home on Hill Street in north Niles.

When it came time to get started, Dick McCreedy, construction leader for the Niles-Buchanan Habitat for Humanity, said a few extra hands came in handy when unloading walls for the house.

“Each year, I struggle as an old man trying to move these heavy walls,” McCreedy.
This year some members of the Niles High School wrestling, out of season and off from practice, put their muscles to work helping with the unload.

The walls are built through what’s called a Prison Build Program partnership with the Michigan Habitat for Humanity and come from various facilities throughout the state including Ithaca and St. Louis.

McCreedy said five members of the team “came and assisted in getting these walls unloaded and onto the deck of the house.

“They were put up the very next day,” he added.

Niles High School students weren’t the only ones lending a helping hand.

Students taking part in the Construction Trades Program at Southwestern Michigan University have also been making trips up to the site of the house to help with the initial construction.

McCreedy said it was a sign thanking Subway restaurants for providing lunch to the crew on site that caught the attention of Eric Kovolak, instructor of the program at SMC.

“This is the third house that we’ve helped on Habitat actually,” Kovolak said, and the first in Niles.

“It’s a win-win,” Kovolak said.

Students get valuable, hands on experience in the construction of a new home and the organization gets some much needed help from skilled volunteers.

“Obviously it’s a good way for the students to give back to the community,” Kovolak said. “We’ll help out quite a bit.”

The students have already been hard at work building the front porch, working on the overall framing and trusses. Wednesday was their third day out at the site and Kovolak said that they’ll continue “depending on what work they have that’s needed.”

An average of 13 students have been heading out to the site on each visit.

“We feel like we’ve been blessed with all this good help,” McCreedy said.

Habitat workers hope to have construction at the house completed by mid-December.

The help, said McCreedy, is “a start. And it helps us greatly.”

For more information about the Niles-Buchanan Habitat for Humanity and the build, visit www.habitatmichigan.org/niles-buchanan-habitat-humanity.

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