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Oregon Students Help Turn School Buses Into Homes for Wildfire Victims

Local nonprofit Talent Maker City is partnering with Jackson County Schools, located south of Medford, Oregon, on The Bus Project, which will allow students to assist with turning school buses into homes for those displaced by a wildfire last year, reported Oregon Public Broadcasting.

The wildfire occurred in Almeda last September and left thousands of homes destroyed and many people in the community struggling with unemployment.

“This is a really unique way for students to be involved in their own agency in building their own skills, as well as giving back to their community and making sure our families can come home and that our community is taken care of,” Alli French, a member of Talent Maker City said on the broadcast.

The Skoolie Home Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on ending homelessness by creating homes from school buses, donated the first two school buses for the project. The vehicles will be converted into four-person homes by the end of this school year.

The homes will be outfitted with electricity and plumbing, which French said is an invaluable opportunity for students to gain practical experience. She told OPB she hopes that the program will be expanded to involve more schools in nearby counties.

“You could look at construction, you could look at people going into plumbing, it could be electrical, it could be going into architecture and design or interior design,” said French. “They’re high wage, high demand careers, and if we can get students interested in those pathways, we’re going to be rebuilding for the next 10 years.”

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