BALTIMORE - It's Saturday morning and students from 16 public, parochial and independent schools in the Baltimore area are hard at work building a home for a family in need. It's part of the Habitat for Humanity Build a Block Program.
"This project is important because its getting affordable homeowners into homes in Baltimore City. It's also important because we are seeing direct involvement from the next generation. They write their own grants. They come out and build," said Leila Kohler-Frueh, Director of Community Engagement with Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake.
Students are working in the Pen Lucy Neighborhood in Northeast Baltimore. Students gain hands on experience while making affordable homes a reality for Habitat homeowners like Jenice Manning.
"I'm really thrilled with the program. I was one of the people who were not fortunate enough to afford a mortgage and now with Habitat you can get a home," said Jenice Manning, Habitat Homeowner.
Students do it all including hammering nails and operating machinery.
"Having a home is one of the most important things that a person can have in order to pursue happiness. It's hard to be really happy and have good grades if you have no place to live and you are trying to pay your bills, which is why Habitat is so great," said Jessie Lamworth, a junior at Parks School.
Build a Block raised $300,000 and contributed to thousands of hours of volunteer labor. This years goal is to sponsor and build two homes in the Orchard Ridge and Pigtown communities while helping rebuild six sites in Baltimore City.
"I'm going to take away the importance of community and knowing it is important to give back to people that are so deserving," said Ethan Tobin, senior Friends School of Baltimore.
The Build a Block Program is in its third year.