June 4, 2018
Story and Photo by Micah Oelze
Restocking paper goods at Great Bend Head Start daycare was a cross-town trip before Barton Community College got involved.
Head Start contacted Matt Mazouch, Barton’s Carpentry Instructor at Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility, after seeing an ad for storage sheds. Larned Correctional Facility inmates construct the sheds through Barton’s Building Academic Skills in Correctional Settings (BASICS) carpentry class. The class teaches inmates how to frame a floor, walls, a roof, etc.
“The best application [of these skills] for a real-life situation is a storage shed. The unfortunate thing is it is hard to get companies to move them once we have sold them,” Mazouch said. “We decided, maybe we can build a shed you can take apart in seven pieces: two roof pieces, four walls and a floor.”
Mazouch and his students were able to begin production with Head Start’s purchase of the materials. Mazouch’s students built two sheds for Head Start: one of the sheds is for the Great Bend location and the other for Larned.
“It took maybe six weeks of me teaching them how to build, then we tore it apart in 20 minutes and loaded it on a trailer,” he said. “The next week, here I am here with some volunteers putting it back together.”
The shed stood complete in just over an hour with the help Mazouch received from a crew of volunteers from Head Start who assisted in assembling the shed piece-by-piece.
Mindy Evans, the Center Director and Half-Day Teacher for Head Start in Great Bend, expressed her gratitude to all those involved in helping make this a reality.
Mazouch said his job working with inmates is rewarding, as his influence could be the difference between a life as a productive citizen, or returning to prison.
“I have had a lot of support from the facility, and it is really neat working with these guys,” he said. “Some of them have never had a job; this gives them the basic know-how to begin a career in the trades.”
For more information, contact Barton Instructor Matt Mazouch at firstname.lastname@example.org.