CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — This week, kids at the Housing Authority of Champaign County are getting a taste of what it’s like to work in construction.

It is YouthBuild Construction Week and it is held once a month in an effort to achieve Victory Over Violence.

Verles Bolton is among those taking part. He and other kids are building a bench. Rather than focusing on himself, Bolton said it is a team effort to learn and get the job done.

“Make sure it’s a stamp that 2023 was here and we did a job, we all could work together and get it done,” Bolton said.

Bolton has been out of school for almost a year. Now, during YouthBuild Construction Week, he’s learning skills he can take with him.

“They started out with learning safety procedures, they’ve also learned about ladder safety, as well as tape measurement, combining all of those skills to go out and work on implementing a project,” said YouthBuild Director Shevone Myrick.

Myrick said that for some students, the traditional reading and writing isn’t what suits them. Hands-on experience is a better fit.

“Being able to get up and to work with their hands and to develop something that can go back into the community and be useful,” Myrick said.

This week, the group is working together building a bench on site.

“We’re building a bench really,” Bolton said. “So we came together as individual groups to build a bench and learn to work together as a team to get a job done.”

Bolton said it’s been a three-day project so far.

“I’m looking like a construction man, because, you know, the vest, the shoes, the measuring tape, the speedster,” Bolton said. “You know, you got to have all your equipment, your bag, your luggage.”

Myrick says about 20 to 25 students participate in Construction Week. Bolton said he’s enjoyed every minute of it.

“I’m very hands on, I like the hands-on work,” Bolton said. “I like to sit there, I like to learn the math.”

He also likes the idea of coming together as one to build something.

Myrick also said that students can earn a high school diploma and construction and career certification by being involved in the program.