High school students build tiny homes for foster kids

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 11:27 AM EST
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THORNTON, Colo. (KUSA) - A shop project in a Colorado high school is doing more than giving students job skills. The high school class is actually building tiny homes to help foster kids only slightly older than them.

For a class project that seems so big, it’s actually tiny.

Luca Mastroeni is a junior taking a construction class inside FutureForward at Washington Square.

Instead of building something just for a grade, Mastroeni and his classmates are building a future.

“We’re working on a tiny home for foster children that are aging out of their foster homes,” Mastroeni said.

Shannon Hancock runs the Five Star Education Foundation and is currently working with Adams County officials to create a tiny home village, built entirely by teens like Mastroeni for other students in need.

“Those kids hitting the age of 18, aging out of foster care and having absolutely nowhere to go was where we were going to go,” Hancock said. “And we were going to go there with them.”

Aaron Cooper is the construction instructor.

“It’s very eye-opening when they see,” Cooper said. “Their skills can help more than just build.”

He says normally student projects are demolished, but this one will last years.

“Get to work on a tiny home? That’s real world. We’re doing everything in that tiny home that we do in the real world,” he said. “Real world skills. They get to see something come together and then actually go to the community.”

Mastroeni said the project makes him take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

“Last year we started, it was just wheeled into the shop and there was a bunch of blueprints and just metal sheets that were just laying around,” Mastroeni said. “But it’s refreshing to see that it’s, like, actually becoming a thing.”

Cooper has to make sure the work done by teens meets professional standards.

“Watching it come together, letting them see how it works and then putting it out to the real world gives them a sense of accomplishment,” Cooper said.

Their project is giving someone perhaps shuffled around for years in foster care a place to finally call their own.

“It’s kind of mind-boggling. It’s like such a small space, but it’s so efficient and welcoming,” Mastroeni said.

The students are proving that the biggest difference can come in the tiniest of homes.

“Being able to, like, actually see this come to fruition is ... it’s not only cool, but it’s also really inspiring,” Mastroeni said.

The first tiny home will be completed in March, with the goal to build ten more in coming years.

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