GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — You may have heard the saying “hard work never hurt anyone one.”
One group of local students is proving hard work can lead to great things for the community and valuable experience for their lives. The work hasn’t been easy, but it has paid off for everyone. The students have built five outdoor classrooms for Guilford County Schools and a tiny house that will go to a homeless veteran.
And they got paid for their labor.
“It’s an opportunity, not only to learn about leadership skills, but also to make some money. And what I love is when you mix those two together, you keep a lot of kids out of trouble. You keep them off the street, you give them something to do. And a lot of them take full responsibility and take pride in what they do,” George Steele, Program Director for PEAK Adventures, said.
While the money earned may be spent away, Steele says what the students have experienced will last them a lifetime. “They’re learning a lot of skills. They learn the skills that I like most. They learn how to work together. They learn how to communicate with each other while working. They take pride in their work. Every morning when the van comes up to pick them up, they know exactly when they get their schedules on Sunday. So, they learn a lot of early work skills. They can carry on as adults when they get older.”
Andrews High School students Sultan Divens and Justus Rockwell, have been in the program since they were in the 7th grade. “This has opened my eyes to a whole bunch of new things,” Divens said. “It’s just like a big mentors program. We can help community out to help everybody, around us out.”
“We learned how to put windows in, put walls for building, outdoor stuff like this,” said Rockwell. And he knows it will benefit him in the future. “I’m more like in engineering, but since I do this, this is something I put my resume.”
The program isn’t just for the boys. Chamsmine Huntley started as a middle school student. She graduated but loved it so much she came back to work as a program director.
“This project specifically taught me a lot,” says Huntley. “Especially since I do want to in the future build my own house and also do real estate. It would be really fun to know all of these experiences and know different things.” She’s a testament to what the Summer work Project can do for a student when they return to school. “It encouraged me to do more at school too, to volunteer at school and not just like out here in the community there too. Just it opens you up different things.”
Something George Steele sees that too. “Because what they do in the summer, they carry into the school. We have some very bright students with us. So, when they come back that summer, they are even stronger, brighter than they were. So, I love it.”
And so do the students. The summer work program is operated by PEAK Adventures. It started out with three students nine years ago and has grown to serve thirty students this year.