Community Construct joins area groups for home improvements

Numerous organizations are coming together to help people in recovery build employment skills, while also offering home improvement projects to local individuals and families.

Community Construct, a local nonrofit, is teaming up with Skills for Tomorrow, an organization founded to help people in recovery work in a safe and sober environment while building skills. This project connects people of all ages who have been involved with the justice system with personal mentoring, recovery coaches and career on the job training to provide a boost to be productive members of the community. Together these two organizations will focus on both youth and adults.  

Youth will assist with building handicap accessible ramps and porch renovations. These young people will interact with mentors teaching them building, communication and life skills to help them transition from juvenile correction facilities back into the classroom and community.

“Having positive adult role models is critical and one variable that many young people do not have,” shared Erick Forshee, founder of Community Construct. “This program couples positive interaction with adults and construction skills to reinforce how work ethic and good choices can help set them on the right path.”

The second focus will be on adults with justice system involvement transitioning into the workforce. The pillars of these projects will be mentoring, substance abuse counseling, support meetings and flexibility in scheduling, along with a fair wage. Primary goals are to enhance the participant’s employability through improved communication, teamwork, safety, timeliness, willingness to learn, positive attitude and resilience.

“The reason Skills for Tomorrow exists is for transformation. Each and every project we do isn’t just a source of income for our crew but another building block in this new way of life,”said co-founders of Skills for Tomorrow, Greg (Buddy) Yancer and Nick Hale. “From customer service to the basic on site skills, each home helps put together the puzzle. I’ve been blessed to watch customers become friends and sometimes mentors of our crew. This year we have a lot of off-site goals but it’s only possible with on-site success. We look forward to working with each of you. Together we recover and recovery means a better safer community.” 

Specific projects will focus on roof remodeling, siding and exterior home construction in a substance free environment that offers the flexibility needed for court obligations, support meetings, counseling and other requirements.

The Midland Area Community Foundation awarded a $40,000 grant for the “Community Builds” project, which provides vital funding for participant employment.

“Midland Area Community Foundation is pleased to support inclusive projects like this that bring about long-term transformation and help ensure all residents thrive,” said Sharon Mortenson, president and CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation. “We are proud to be a catalyst to help Community Construct in their important work.”

United Way of Midland County and 211 of NE Michigan are leveraging their new LIFT program (Leveraging Income for Tomorrow) to provide financial resources for the home improvement materials to support projects for hardworking families who would otherwise struggle to afford expensive, yet needed repairs.

“This program is collaboration at it’s best,” shared Sarah Kile, Executive Director of 211 Northwest Michigan. “Our connections coach provides a trusting relationship to help families navigate services in our community while funding through United Way provides new resources to many who work hard but don’t often qualify for help.”

The LIFT program also leverages nonprofit expertise, which includes Home To Stay and Habitat for Humanity, additional partners in the program. Together, they use their knowledge and connections to help identify families in need and provide support.

“It’s truly a win-win,” stated Holly Miller, president and CEO of United Way of Midland County. “Participants work in a supportive environment where they gain vital employment skills and local families benefit with much-needed house repairs to ensure they can remain safely in their homes.”

“Through partnering, we are all able to serve more households and better meet the needs in our community as well as contribute to those on their recovery journey,” said, Donna St. John, executive director from Home to Stay.

For more information about the Community Construct program, contact Erick Forshee at 989-615-2754 or [email protected]

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