Free State club helps raise up new home | News, Sports, Jobs

Free State High senior Sarah Robinson cuts out a doorway Saturday at a Habitat for Humanity home under construction at 207 N. Comfort Court in North Lawrence. About 50 Free State students in the Social Awareness Club painted and hung doors and drywall inside the home.

It was education in action, as about 50 Free State High School students sawed, drilled, cut and hammered away their Saturday while helping build a Habitat for Humanity home in North Lawrence.

“It’s just a cool environment to be in a place where people have a common goal,” said senior Amanda Kong, who is president of the Habitat for Humanity branch of Free State’s Social Awareness Club.

Students, most of whom were members of the Social Awareness Club, worked in two shifts to piece together a home at 207 N. Comfort Court. They spent the day cutting and hanging drywall, and sweeping up debris so the house could be prepared for caulking.

Club sponsor Andrew Nussbaum, a social studies teacher, said the club was founded last spring in an effort to educate students about world issues.

Students have participated in several events to learn more about issues, such as the plight of the “invisible children” in Uganda. They have also learned about poverty and domestic abuse in Lawrence, and they are discussing the 2008 presidential election.

“I’m trying to get the kids to be lifelong learners,” Nussbaum said.

The club began planning this outing months ago, said junior Brock Norwood. Its members were learning by doing Saturday. Norwood was covered in dust after cutting drywall all day. He said Habitat volunteers taught him how to properly cut the material Saturday morning.

He said the experience of building a family’s home was gratifying.

“I got a chance to talk to the woman (whose home they were building) today, and she was so excited about it,” he said. “Even though this is our first day, it feels like we’re contributing.”

The Habitat ReStore is preparing for a milestone, and it’s gearing up to shower shoppers with whistles, balloons and gifts. The ReStore, 800 Comet Lane, expects to sell its 500th ton of product in the coming days.

The store, which sells useable overstock and used building supplies and materials, donates all proceeds to Lawrence Habitat for Humanity.

“It is not your typical cans-and-paper recycling program,” said Katherine Harris, the store’s manager. “But it has proven important to our community, salvaging over 3,000 semi trucks full of quality building supplies in our three-year history.”

The ReStore is planning a celebration when the last pounds of product are sold.

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