Vocational school for returning youth and older than ever in Huntington

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – A program in Huntington to teach students valuable professional and practical skills is back and more important than ever this fall.

The Salvation Army is underway with its fall vocational school program. Students aged 11 to 17 get together and learn life skills that they might not have learned otherwise.

Organizers say the number of registrations for this fall’s classes is the highest they’ve ever had.

“I feel good because I don’t know how to use any of these tools. I might be able to build a treehouse if I learn, ”says Bella, an 11-year-old girl participating in the program.

“All day long they are at school, they sit there learning their history, their English. And those things are important, but we also want to provide them with something that they don’t get, which is things like identifying tools, how to build things. For example, the construction of bed frames. Our program built a shed, we set up picnic tables, we set up nesting boxes, ”explains Nicholas Devens, program director of the Salvation Army vocational school.

At the moment, students are getting their hands on the construction of bed frames for foster children.

“It’s really fun to do, I think it’s really cool doing homework and building beds,” said Bella.

The vocational school offers more than that:

“It’s like a grand tour of everything, so they get their life skills lessons, they get their tutoring, and then they get their hands on the construction of the bed,” says Jake Merritt, program assistant at The Vocational School. of the Salvation Army.

“Our goal is to try to get them to learn things that are not usually taught in schools so that they can understand that it is not their only option as they grow up,” says Devens.

Courtesy of parents through The Salvation Army, students in the program tell us how this program helps them determine their career goals.

“It helps me understand better because there are tutors who come and they help you,” says Hannah, a 12-year-old girl in vocational school.

“When you grow up, if you like to build, like to know, if you want to be like building stuff,” says McKaila, an 11-year-old girl in vocational school.

The project’s organizers say teaching children these valuable life skills could even benefit Huntington as a whole in the long run.

“In the Huntington area we have a lot of business groups here that need staff, that they need to be trained on and if they get started they might have a better chance of making a lot of money… Also, the tax money goes in because now you have another business group working here, creating income for the city, ”Devens says.

As for the children themselves:

“I think it’s fun because you learn to build and it’s also educational, so you know how to do it yourself,” says Hannah.

Organizers say they hope to expand the school’s operations in Huntington and help expand the program to other cities.

The vocational school continues to enroll children in the program.

For more information, visit their website here.

For more information on The Salvation Army in Huntington, visit their website here.

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