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Students Are Building Homes Out Of School Buses For Displaced Wildfire Victims

Sydney Dauphinais/JPR

Last fall’s Almeda fire burned down thousands of homes and left many unemployed. Several nonprofits have partnered with Jackson County schools to start the Bus Project: a program that invites students to help rebuild school buses into homes.

Alli French, a member of local nonprofit Talent Maker City, helps manage The Bus Project.

“This is a really unique way for students to be involved in their own agency in building their own skills," says French, "as well as giving back to their community and making sure our families can come home and that our community is taken care of.”

The goal is to have the first two buses, donated by the Skoolie Home Foundation, renovated into homes by the end of this school year. The buses are designed to be four-person households, complete with a kitchen, plumbing and electricity.

French also says she sees this as an opportunity to give students practical skills that could be useful to them in the future.

“So 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," she said. "But in every single one of those levels, there’s room in our valley for those. 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 ten years.”

French says they want to expand the program in the fall to more schools in Jackson and Josephine counties.