CANTON, Ohio — Habitat for Humanity East Central Ohio and students at Massillon Washington High School are teaming up to help build a single mother her dream home.
Alison Matas Smith is the director of development for Habitat for Humanity East Central Ohio.
She said the organization wants to connect students to building trades.
"We know that in our local community and across the country, building trades are in high demand," Matas Smith said. "There is such a push to get students to pursue careers in these trades. So we thought what better way to get students that real-world experience in construction trades than to have them out with us building a home."
The students are on-site four days a week building the house.
"They have been out here every step of the way," Matas Smith said. "They were out here when there was nothing on this lot and they were staking out the home. They built and raised the walls and they will be here with us until the house is finished in December when their semester ends."
Habitat for Humanity East Central Ohio partners with families who need decent, affordable housing.
"This home is going to be going to a woman named Kayla and her daughter," Matas Smith said. "When it is finished, she will be purchasing it with a zero-interest mortgage and moving in here."
The soon-to-be homeowner has been working alongside the students to build her home and has taken several classes through Habitat for Humanity including financial literacy and homeowner maintenance education.
"Habitat is a hand-up not a hand-out ministry, so we want to make it absolutely clear Kayla is purchasing this home," Matas Smith said. "She has put in hundreds of hours of what we call sweat equity."
Jaiden Woods, a senior at Massillon Washington High School, has been working on the house.
He said it has been a wonderful experience for both him and for his classmates.
"It’s so much more than just building a house," Jaiden said. "It’s building a home for someone in need, so that is pretty sweet."
Woods said his class is not only learning how to build a house, but they are also learning the value of helping others.
"If you can, you should always give back to people," the teen said. "You never know who or when someone needs something, so if we can, why not?”