By Cameron Rasmusson
Both education and community improvement are on the table with the Eureka Institute’s latest project.
The local nonprofit, which encourages personal growth and learning through educational, experiential and recreational activities, is teaming up with the SPOT bus system to build covered bus shelters. Long identified by SPOT cities and transportation experts as a need for bus riders, who often stand in the rain or snow while waiting for their rides, the shelter construction project will also provide local youth with an opportunity to build skills and character.
“It’s a win-win for everyone,” said Steve Holt, executive director of the Eureka Institute. “We get to further our program, kids get to work on a project that benefits the community and the SPOT ridership will benefit from these shelters.”
The project will be administered through the Eureka Institute’s Construction Basics Initiative. A program for under-served and at-risk youth, the program is designed to provide kids with the skills and confidence they need to become valued, productive members of society. And Holt said there’s no better fit for their services than SPOT, a free bus system widely used throughout the greater Sandpoint area.
Holt, himself a 30-year veteran of the design and build industry, said the project is a great fit for local youth. The practical skills that come alongside construction projects are an excellent gateway to professional employment. What’s more, the satisfaction of seeing a construction project come together from disparate parts to a completed whole is a terrific motivator.
“For them to be able to stand back and enjoy the fruits of their labor is really a rewarding feeling,” Holt said.
According to Holt, construction on the first two shelters begins this year, with several more likely to follow. As the project unfolds, the Eureka Institute will roll out a sponsorship program where individuals, organizations and businesses can purchase engraved bricks showing their support. Brick sales will largely occur through the Eureka Institute website, www.eurekainstitute.org.
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