Students build dreams through welding class

Students build dreams through welding class

Magnolia Bates is building her dream for a better future with a welder’s torch. She is one of about 15 students earning a certificate in welding through a partnership between Community Renewal’s Adult Renewal Academy and Northwest Louisiana Technical College. Red Ball Oxygen has donated welding rods and equipment. “Some people told me that welding was for a man, not a woman, but I like challenges. I like using the torch and building things,” she said. Magnolia, a mother of three, is an ARA student who is close to graduating. “I want to start my own soul food business – I’ve already had training in culinary arts – and then I can use my welding skills to work on my own building.” One of the best rewards of this new Community Renewal outreach: Students not only learn a marketable job skill; they also learn self-confidence. “This is building me up and building my self-esteem. I feel like I don’t have to worry about anything because this takes stress off of me.” Students meet on Saturday mornings on the LTC Shreveport campus with Allendale Community Coordinator Emmitt Welch, also an experienced welder. “Without this class, some of these students would be at home watching the wind blow through the trees. Their lives would be at a dead end,” he said. “This program gives them hope. They will become responsible, productive citizens because of this class.” Teacher Harris Williams, a welder for 40 years, said helping these students is one way of giving back to the community. “My hope is they complete their welding education and get their diploma. They can...
Meet Syborio Sabbath

Meet Syborio Sabbath

Afternoons at a Community Renewal Friendship House helped turn Syborio Sabbath from a bully into a better person, a young leader who now has plans, goals and a desire to help others rather than hurt them. “When I was younger I would mess with people and bully little kids. I just wasn’t thinking. I was immature and self-centered,” he said. “I like the Friendship House because when I come here I feel good. I love it here. They teach us how to do the right thing and not the wrong thing.” Syborio, 16, is finishing his freshman year this spring at Byrd High School, where he plays on the school basketball team and has aspirations for a basketball career. He lives with his family in Shreveport’s Highland neighborhood and started in the Kids Club at one Highland Friendship House and is now active in the Youth Club at the other Highland Friendship House. “They make me a better person at the Friendship House and then I can help the younger kids do the right thing. They really care about us here. We’re like one big family and that is so good,” she said. Caring relationships from the community coordinators who live in and run the programs at the Friendship Houses have made a tremendous difference in the lives of hundreds of teenagers, including Syborio. He has helped with service projects like neighborhood cleanups and food drives. And through all of these experiences, he is now growing into a responsible young man who is already thinking of ways he can give back to his community. “He is becoming a leader...