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Service, Leadership and a Competitive Edge

SkillsUSA students earn a skilled hat trick for themselves while building homes for others in their community.
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Photos courtesy of Burlington County Institute of Technology (BCTI).

Over the years, the WesTech SkillsUSA chapter at Burlington County Institute of Technology (BCTI) in Westampton, N.J., has developed its own special slogan: “Service, Leadership and a Competitive Edge.” It’s an expression that embodies the core of the chapter’s community service projects and the goals students hope to obtain by participating. These community service projects are especially popular with WesTech students of all career areas and grade levels. Why, you ask? Well, students enjoy the “can’t buy” feeling of pride and satisfaction the projects freely provide while giving them the opportunity to do what they love while hanging out with fellow SkillsUSA members from other CTE programs. What could be better?

This October, WesTech SkillsUSA students took part in what’s become a service tradition, helping a local branch of Habitat for Humanity by assembling furniture, reconditioning items and restocking merchandise that’s later made available for purchase at a Habitat for Humanity Re-store location. They also spent time building homes for Habitat in nearby Jobstown and Marlton counties. In fact, through the help of WesTech volunteers, Habitat for Humanity has built almost 300 homes and helped repair and improve others throughout the local community.

Students have installed flooring, trim and insulatation; framed; painted and more.

These ongoing projects provide a valuable service to the community and allow students to get an inside look at materials and techniques used in modern homebuilding. “The SkillsUSA/Habitat for Humanity connection always permits students to come away with a host of powerful and rewarding educational experiences,” adds Joseph Bouchard, a SkillsUSA advisor and Architecture and Design Technology instructor at BCTI. “There is simply no substitute for the insight gained from onsite learning.”

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