On a chilly morning on Grand Rapids’ West Side, students enjoyed warm garb as they sawed, painted and took nail guns to a Habitat for Humanity home.

Junior Avion McPeak, right, sets up a saw as Gonzalo Mora looks on

The clothing was donated by Wolverine, a brand of Wolverine Worldwide, to the Academy for Design & Construction at Innovation Central. The company pr

ovided about $10,000 worth of wool knit beanies, work gloves, thermal Henley long-sleeve shirts, winter work jackets, thick work socks and steel-toed work boots.  

Student Isidro Espadas shows off the new jacket and cap provided by Wolverine to the Academy for Design & Construction at Innovation Central
It was part of nearly $50,000 in clothing Wolverine has donated to the program over the past four years.

The gifts were worn by several of the students working recently on a Habitat home on Gold Avenue NW, as part of their program at Innovation Central. On this day they were working inside, but a few years ago they had toiled outside in frigid temperatures wearing only tennis shoes and baseball caps. That prompted Grand Rapids Public Schools to approach Wolverine, said Gideon Sanders, GRPS director for Innovative Strategies.

Junior Tiara Pratt squeezes in to paint the trim inside a closet “They were kind enough to recognize the need for helping our students become prepared for future jobs and careers in construction,” Sanders said. For the students, he added, “It’s giving back to the community while actually learning a trade.”

Junior Avion McPeak said he’s interested in engineering or architecture, and that the Habitat build is good experience for that – as well as doing a greater good.

“Building somebody else’s house, I didn’t expect to do that,” Avion said. “It’s nice.”

By Charles Honey, Courtesy of School News Network