We’ve been building houses for a while now, and we’ve learned a lot in the process. This fall we’ve decided to pass some of that knowledge along by embarking on a partnership with the newly-established unCommon Construction (uCC). Led by former NOAHH site leader Aaron Frumin, unCommon Construction is a nonprofit that uses paid residential construction apprenticeships to empower hard-working high school students.
Ten uCC apprentices—local high school students chosen from a large pool of applicants—will spend three Saturdays a month at work on a NOAHH house in the 7th Ward. They began their first work day there in September by raising the house’s frame, and they will see the home through to completion. In the process they are gaining skills in construction, but they’re also learning about effective communication, collaborative problem solving, and the thrill of real-world applications of math and science, all while earning wages and school credit. Beyond all of this, uCC apprentices benefit from exposure to people from all walks of life in working alongside other NOAHH volunteers and partner families.
It’s not only when volunteers meet partner families that bridges are built. Aaron Frumin, founder of unCommon Construction (uCC), worked as a staff member at NOAHH for several years, and he witnessed (and experienced) many shifts in perspective during that time. When he founded his organization, he intentionally designed it to bring students from different parts of the city, and from different schools, together. He specifically cites times when his student-interns worked alongside students from Xavier University, saying the experience allowed them to ask questions and learn from those they might not have otherwise met.
“It demystifies people, makes them less of an abstraction.” Frumin said, “You share work, your project, and your common mission, so it’s a tool to understand yourselves, people, and the community in which we live.”
Keep your eye on uCC; we’re pretty sure they’ve got a big future ahead of them. We’re excited to partner with them at the beginning of this journey!