Employment is critical to long-term self-sufficiency.

Eva’s helps youth experiencing homelessness get the job skills they need to build bright futures. Eva’s Construction and Building Maintenance Training Program does just that.

Sandra is a former resident of Eva’s Phoenix and a graduate of the Construction and Building Maintenance Training Program. She first experienced homelessness as a teen because of her mother’s mental illness and breakdown. Sandra has successfully overcome her own physical and mental health challenges, is living independently in the community, and is looking forward to a bright future.

Sandra wanted to share five surprising things she learned about herself and the work with you. Here are her words:

When I enrolled, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew I would be working with tools and learning hands-on skills that would make me more employable. But I didn’t realize how much I would learn and the extent of the possibilities that would be open to me.

What surprised me most about the Construction and Building Maintenance Training Program?

Lesson One: Strategy and project planning really matter

One of our first assignments was to build a birdhouse. But it wasn’t as simple as it sounds. We did an incredible amount of planning, measuring, designing, calculating and figuring out what materials to use. I was expecting the project to be a lot of work – and it was! However, I was surprised to learn how much the project planning helped me build my birdhouse more efficiently. Now, I am proud of the birdhouse that I built, was an auction item at Eva’s Home for Life event.

Lesson Two: I can handle really major responsibilities

I knew that I would be working with tools, but I was surprised by the amount of responsibility that meant. We were working with hot soldering torches and machinery with cutting blades. Using them meant taking ownership of our own safety and that of others. We were given extensive safety training, of course. But the level of responsibility we were entrusted with was surprising but empowering. It was a huge confidence-booster too.

Lesson Three: Spatial perception and accuracy are both essential

When you are building something, everything has to be exact and precise. There is very little room for error, especially when each step of a project builds on other steps. I was surprised by how much detail I had to figure out to be sure that every step of the project was proceeding as I planned.

Lesson Four: I can be really good at problem-solving

No matter how much planning you do, challenges always pop up. Each project I was involved with gave me the opportunity to think on my feet and problem-solve in the moment. The program has definitely enhanced my decision-making skills, and my confidence that I can make the right decisions.

Lesson Five: the industry is rich with knowledge and possibilities

The instructor has extensive carpentry expertise. He shared a lot of detail about how the industry and related standards have changed over the years. It really is a much more complex industry than I ever would have expected. I was also amazed at how many topics there were in mechanics. Plus, I learned how to use tools that I never even knew existed! There is much more to construction than I ever would have thought.

These are just a few of the surprising things I learned in the program… and it’s not over yet! I am looking forward to completing the course, and all of the exciting possibilities awaiting me upon graduation!

An experience of homelessness doesn’t have to bury youth skills and passions forever. Thank you to Toronto Pearson’s community investment program for your generous support as Champion Sponsor of Eva’s Construction and Building Maintenance Training Program. Your support enables young people to discover their talents and shine!

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Young people at Eva’s….
Want to know more about Eva’s Construction and Building Maintenance Training Program?

Our objective is to work with employers who can offer internships with the goal of permanent employment for successful participants. This unique partnership ensures that youth build tangible skills and are gainfully employed at the conclusion of the program.