A Great Foundation

Braksten Smith is building his own future and that of a family he doesn’t even know.

The Windsor Central High School senior is a student in the BOCES carpentry class, spending school mornings at Windsor Central High School and afternoons at BOCES. On Tuesday, he and his classmates raised the first wall of a home the class is building for Habitat for Humanity.
“It’s a hands-on experience, and I’m building stuff for people,” said Smith.

This is the third home the BOCES program has built in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity. The project is not only helping others, but it is also providing valuable experience to Smith. He is expanding his set of skills. This project has allowed him to build a foundation, put in joists, and frame a home for the first time in his two years in the BOCES program.

“I’ve learned a lot. I’ve gotten experience with my hands and am able to do things I wasn’t able to do before,” said Smith.

“It gives us a chance to tangibly work with the youth and show them they have the ability to change the world with their skills,” said Mari Giurastante, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Broome and Tioga Counties.

Smith plans to join the workforce immediately after graduation, either as a residential or union carpenter.

“He’s been doing very well. He’s a hard worker. He doesn’t say an awful lot. When he’s here, he works. He’s been a pleasure,” said BOCES carpentry teacher Tim Matthews. “He’s ready now. Over the next few months, we’ll get him some more experience, but he’s definitely ready now,” said Matthews.

“I’m really grateful for it because it gives me a head start on my future,” said Smith.

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