Seniors build dreams for at-risk youth


By Rebekah Frank

Greenhouse Solutions Inc. built a fully-functional to sell at the Building Dreams auction. Photo Courtesy by Deacon Band
Greenhouse Solutions Inc. built a fully-functional to sell at the Building Dreams auction. Photo Courtesy by Deacon Band

As EWU seniors presented their last project for tech class, they were not only presenting their product to a few peers and community members but their projects will be sold at this year’s “Building Dreams — Bright Futures for Our Kids campaign.”

The “Building Dreams — Bright Futures for Our Kids” campaign started as the “Playhouse Project” in which members of the Spokane community would build playhouses and donate them to the community center to be auctioned off.

The proceeds last year reached $48,344 and went to youth programs that were in need of funding due to budget cuts, according to the city of Spokane news article, “Councilmembers Fagan, Salvatori, Allen co-chair ‘Building Dreams — Bright Futures for Our Kids.’”

EWU lecturer of construction management Deacon Band assigned his tech class, consisting of all EWU seniors, to build something to donate to the auction. He said, in the lines of construction management, the students not only need to know how to build things, but it is also really important to give back to the community.

Band said his students were thrilled at the idea of building something to donate and help at-risk kids in the community. EWU senior Michael Payne was one of those involved in the building and presenting. His group was called Micro Homes Unlimited, and they built a sheriff’s office playhouse.

During their presentation, the members of Micro Homes Unlimited discussed the process of building the playhouse and how much work went into it. They also presented everything they learned and the trials they faced while building the playhouse.

“The main thing that I can take away from this project is the amount of effort it takes to complete a project within a short time period. From creating the first set of working drawings to assembling the last part,” said Payne.

One of his classmates, Brandon Murphy, agreed that this project did take a lot of work and time. Murphy’s group name was Greenhouse Solutions Inc., and they built a fully-functional greenhouse. During their presentation, the group estimated 76 hours were spent building the greenhouse and stressed the importance of meeting and planning ahead of time.

“I learned how planning can really make a project run. Without it, we could not have gotten our project or our book done on time,” said Murphy.

Murphy was glad he gained some experience building and helping kids in the community.

“I am hoping to see the proceeds from our project help at-risk youth in Spokane by supporting after-school activities and clubs to help them succeed in their goals,” said Murphy.

After the presentations were done, Kim Ferraro, executive director of the West Central Community Center and founder of “Building Dreams — Bright Futures for Our Kids,” took the floor. She thanked all the sponsors who donated materials to the groups and the students for all their hard work.

“You have no idea what these projects are going to do for the youth in our community. … This program, Bright Futures for Our Kids, is going to grow and grow and grow because … all of our sponsors have stepped up and said, ‘These kids are worth it,’” said Ferraro.