Micah Scruggs is a graduate of the college’s adult education program – the same program whose students rehabbed the house that her family will soon call home.
“I would have never thought that I would run into my instructors from the GED preparation courses I took at Lewis and Clark while filling out an application for the Habitat for Humanity home,” she said. “I am truly humbled and grateful for this opportunity. Lewis and Clark’s Val Harris and Nancy Johnson really encouraged me while I was a student in the adult education program.”
After receiving her GED through Lewis and Clark, Micah went on to obtain an associate’s degree and complete some CPA training. She is currently employed by Liberty Tax. Shaune, a Navy veteran, is currently employed with Whelan Security. The family of four includes their two young sons: Mauriyon, 3, and Shaune Jr., 5.
“I don’t want money or any of the selfish materialistic things in life – just the chance to take care of my family and raise my children in an environment where they can learn, play, and just be happy like normal kids,” Shaune Scruggs said. “Having a home will provide this environment.”
Jim Hanlon, president of the Alton Area Habitat for Humanity chapter, is excited about the new partnership between Habitat and L&C’s YouthBuild program.
“We are looking forward to future builds and to creating something special in the Alton area similar to other partnerships in the nation that exist between YouthBuild students and local Habitats,” he said.
Lewis and Clark Community College’s YouthBuild Program has served more than 70 students since it began in 2009. The YouthBuild Program, in partnership with Madison County Community Development, the City of Alton and Greater Alton Community Development funded the rehabilitation of the house located in Alton also in 2009. Since that time, the students in the YouthBuild program have been tasked with this extensive reconstruction project.
“It started with the first group of students who took part in the demolition and deconstruction of the house,” said Val Harris, Lewis and Clark’s director of Adult Education. “They basically gutted the house down to the studs, preparing the house for the major reconstruction process.”
A total of four different cohorts of students have each played a significant role in this home reconstruction project. L&C YouthBuild Program Manager Stephanie Gill said the program is a significant opportunity for at-risk youth in the area.
“The goal of YouthBuild is to reach out to those students who have dropped out of high school, and provide them with a second chance and a valuable career path,” Gill said.
The students range in age from 16-24 and are taught in a contextualized format.
“The entire curriculum is geared around the construction trades program so they are learning reading, writing and math as they relate to the construction process,” Gill said. “They are increasing their basic skill levels in these fundamental areas while also learning all of the components of this valuable trade.”
Gill said the program also focuses on green construction, providing the students with the latest technologies related to sustainable building products and systems.
In addition to the remodel project, the students have also completed other service projects including the renovation of their own program space in the former St. Patrick’s building, the development of a garden at the St. Patrick’s Community Learning Center, volunteering at the homeless shelter and cleaning up an area neighborhood.
“We are just so pleased at all of the components that the students in the YouthBuild Program have learned – leadership, career development, community service, environmental awareness and case management – all while preparing them for their GED test and a future career,” Harris said. “We are excited to see the nearly two years of work for these students come to fruition, and we couldn’t be more happy to know that we are not only providing a great house for one of our community members, but to know that we are serving one of our former students. It really brings everything full circle for the Adult Education Department at Lewis and Clark and we couldn’t be more thrilled.”
The dedication ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 28 in front of the Scruggs new home in Alton. For more information contact Harris at (618) 468-4100.