By Glenda McCarthy
College of the North Atlantic’s Cabinetmaking program students are the second group to lend their skills to the Habitat for Humanity Newfoundland and Labrador Corner Brook property in Curling. Previously, the college’s Electrical program students helped on the project this past January.
Cabinetmaking instructor Kelly Tompkins says the project is a perfect fit for the program as it gives students the practical experience that employers are looking for.
“I contacted Habitat about three or four years ago to see if we could work together. When there was a build happening in Corner Brook, we came together again to discuss building the kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities. It has been a great working relationship, and we are proud to be able to contribute to this wonderful project,” Tompkins said.
“Kitchen cabinets are a part of our plan of training, but we don’t want to compete with private industry. Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization, so this works well for all parties. The students get extra practice and get to give back to a great cause.”
The class designed the cabinets and the six students cut out the parts for the project that took four weeks to finish and is valued at approximately $15,000.
“It’s a great way to help the community,” said student Melissa Battiste of Codroy Valley. “(It) is a good experience for us, as students, to build an entire kitchen as if we were in a real work situation.”
“Working on these cabinets for Habitat has been an amazing learning experience,” added Ellen VanDerMeulen of Hamilton, Ontario. “Not only have we gained experience relevant to our field of study, but it also feels great knowing these cabinets are going to a good cause.”
Several businesses contributed materials to the cabinet project, including Blum Hardware of Mississauga, Ontario, Blanchard’s Cabinet Doors in Bishops Falls, and Classic Woodwork of St. John’s.
The students finished the cabinets at Port aux Basques campus and installed them in May.
“It was incredibly rewarding seeing the results of this past year of learning and knowing it’s going to a family in need,” said Dmitri Cuff of St. John’s.