Students learn about the needy through building project

Upon viewing the cargo container that she would help turn into a single-family home in two weeks’ time, Carly Wolfbrandt couldn’t escape the obvious: It wasn’t pretty.

“It was so ugly when they brought it,” said Carly, who admitted she was nervous at the opening ceremonies for the Instant-Built House prototype on May 31. “I thought people would be laughing.”

“We were making something out of absolutely nothing,” agreed Josh Friedman.

Carly and Josh, two 17-year-old students from The Meadows School, joined classmates, volunteers and professionals in May to make the Instant-Built House. The structure is designed to offer emergency housing to those in need because of natural disasters and homelessness.

The prototype was built from the idea of Arnold Stalk, founder of SHARE, an organization dedicated to helping solve housing problems, and supported by the Friedman Family Charitable Foundation.

According to Josh and Carly, about 15 people worked on the prototype at a time, with several students participating in painting and decorating the home.

“As emergency shelters, the goal is for the homes to be built fast,” said Josh, explaining the idea behind the two-week schedule.

The home’s features include fold-out beds, a kitchen area, bath, skylights, generators, satellite and Internet systems.

“We didn’t want to make it too crowded with stuff,” Josh said.

Both Carly and Josh have participated in local community projects before, with Josh starting Habitat for Humanity at The Meadows and Carly tutoring other students.

They said they enjoyed participating in the building of the prototype and hope to see it become a successful solution to aid those in need.

“I really have a sense of how bad it is for people affected by disasters or homelessness or in need of low-income housing,” Josh said. “It opened up my eyes to that world and people who have those difficulties.”

For herself, Carly expressed surprise that this is the first time the idea was suggested.

“I’m astounded no one has thought of it,” she said. “It can help to make a huge difference. Its so easy.”

The prototype will stay at the school for a few months, according to Josh.

“The goal is to mass-produce,” he said.

In other news:

The Art of Peter Max Gallery at the Forum Shops at Caesars recently announced the winners and runners-up of its art contest with pupils at Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy. The kindergarten/elementary division was won by fourth-grader Brittany Law with second-grader Jayanna Jones named the runner-up. Seventh-grader Briana Guillory won the middle school division, and sixth-grader Jasmine Spurlock was the runner-up. In the high school division, sophomores Jasmine Smith was named the winner, and Bre’ahn Williams was the runner-up.

The winners received limited edition artwork by Max, and the runners-ups received a hand-signed dedicated poster. The students’ entries were based on a special 2007 Earth Day image Max created for the contest.

If you know of a worthy candidate for this column, mail information to Youth Spotlight, Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125-0070, or send faxes to 383-4676.

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