Although no houses have yet been built, The Fuller Center for Housing of Greater Carroll County of Virginia has already established a symbiotic relationship with the building trades program of the county high school. Students get real-world experience related to their classroom studies and FCH Greater Carroll County has a ready crop of eager, knowledgeable volunteers and a way to spread the word to the community about The Fuller Center’s work.
The current building trades program instructors at Carroll County High School, Rusty Warren and Vance Leggett, are members of the FCH Greater Carroll County board. Both have previous volunteer house-building experience and thought it was important to expose their students to community work.
A few years ago, they took the students to participate in building housing units that were boxed and sent to the Gulf following hurricane Katrina. The project generated excitement among the students. Additionally, the instructors’ interest in developing a local organization and a sense among community members that something needed to be done to address housing needs in the area led them to seek partnerships with local housing organizations.
Knowing the community was primed to act, FCH Carroll County reached out to the high school following the excitement of the Millard Fuller Legacy Build of 2009, bringing Warren and Leggett into the organization as board members.
Following the disaster in Haiti, the two teachers saw The Fuller Center’s response as a good way for the students to do something about the need and as a good way to introduce The Fuller Center to the greater community. Warren and Leggett brought together the career and technical programs at Carroll County High School to discuss The Fuller Center’s work. Student organizations responded enthusiastically and, with the support of their instructors and the help of a "battle of the bands" competition, Carroll County High School SkillsUSA raised $3,000 to build a house in Haiti.
"It is a partnership that demonstrates for our students the joy of serving and provides them valuable experience in practicing the skills that they are learning," said Oliver McBride, president of FCH Greater Carroll County.
With Warren and Leggett on the local Fuller Center board, the partnership is slated to grow stronger, helping The Fuller Center become more entwined with the school and the community.