Calhoun County Career and Technical Center Construction students assemble a bed for Families First.
Calhoun County Career and Technical Center’s (CCCTC’s) Construction students create change in their community by building beds for underprivileged children.
Beds for Kids is a program that was started by Families First for Mississippi (FFFM) and is led by coordinator Stanley Huddleston. The initiative provides families in need across Mississippi with beds and other critical resources.
CCCTC Director Kyle Clark said his school started the program in the 2018-2019 academic year after discussing the potential partnership with Huddleston. Career and technical education (CTE) students wanted a way to give back to their communities, he said, and Huddleston’s organization provided resources — wood and other materials — to jump-start the program.
“We saw opportunity there and decided the program was a good fit,” Clark said. “That spring, our class built 10 beds for Families First and the families they serve.”
The process for obtaining a bed is simple. In the beginning, families come to FFFM and report that they have or know a child that needs a bed. Next, parents must attend parenting classes to qualify for a bed. Finally, CCCTC students build the beds, and FFFM members, along with local church volunteers, deliver the beds to the families that qualify.
Construction teacher Nick Doles said Beds for Kids is a unique way of teaching construction concepts. It allows students to get their hands dirty and gives them an idea of what it will be like to work in the construction industry.
“We use all the equipment that would be used in the construction industry, including routers, band saws, table saws and hand tools,” he said. “[These] are experiences that can’t be taught out of a textbook.”
Through the Beds for Kids program, students are learning valuable skills that enable them to engage in public service. Twenty-five students participated in Beds for Kids last spring. Junior Tyasia Kimble said the program helped her take concepts learned in the classroom and apply them to help others in her community.
“The most rewarding thing about the program was being able to bless each individual family with a bed,” she said, “and being able to learn construction skills from hands on experiences taught by my teachers was pretty cool, too.”