On February 2, Roger Beck, together with parents, community members, two fellow teachers and 10 students from Worthington Kilbourne High School began the Home B.A.S.E. program. Home B.A.S.E. is an experimental program that promotes the integration of academic disciplines through the construction of a house in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity.
High school seniors who are interested in the program are enrolled in the English and History programs of those teachers who have agreed to participate in the program. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Columbus assigns the students to a family. From that point on, the students begin a year-long process that culminates in the completion of a home for a family in need. A home is completed every two years.
Unlike the traditional Habitat projects, Home B.A.S.E. involves the participants in all aspects of the building process. First, students develop a business proposal and then they present the plan to potential donors. Students then begin working on the design of the house, while trying to include the latest information on energy efficiency in their design strategy. Each student spends a minimum of 150 to 200 hours on the project.
"We put the kids in the leadership positions, we stand back and allow them to use creative thinking to make decisions," said Roger Beck, co-founder of Home B.A.S.E. " We try to include all the kids in the projects. We try not to schedule building events during major school events like games and concerts. We want the kids who are active in the band, orchestra or on sports teams to be able to participate too."
Since the first house was built in 1993, two Home B.A.S.E classes have graduated. Out of the many students that have participated in the program, four have continued to work with Habitat for Humanity either through their college chapter or on their own. According to Mr. Beck, the project is more than a learning project for the students, it is a learning process as well. After completion of one home, Amanda Keene, one of the shyer students in Mr. Beck's Class, approached him and declared “I’m not afraid anymore. If I want to do something, I have the confidence to do it."
Home B.A.S.E. is currently working on their second home for Habitat. All funding is received through donations.