When you ask a teenager to make his bed, it often becomes a struggle, but 50 high school students recently turned out at Starfish Orphan Ministry of Paducah to make beds for 50 families in need.
About 50 students built 50 beds from raw materials, as project sponsor Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Western Kentucky provided lumber, nails and other production needs.
The students are from the carpentry programs of the Paducah Area Technical Center, Marshall County Technical Center and Mayfield-Graves County Area Technology Center.
Laura Roberts, the executive director of Starfish Orphan Ministry, said her organization frequently builds beds at its location at 1000 Broadway St., working with The Bed Ministry, a faith-based organization based in Benton.
"(AGC of Western Kentucky) heard that we have bed building going on here, and they came and observed a group that The Bed Ministry led," she said. "They wanted to bring students that are learning about bed building to do this as well."
Roberts said the finished beds will go all over the area, including western Kentucky, southern Illinois and northwestern Tennessee. Most of them, she said, would go to someone in Paducah.
Joel Crider, the workforce coordinator for AGC of Western Kentucky, came to Starfish Orphan Ministry last week and watched how The Bed Ministry put beds together. He contacted the carpentry programs at the nearest area technical centers and told them about the opportunity for students to improve their craft and work for a good cause.
Building beds was a team effort, with students from the Marshall County Technical Center building the frame, those from the Paducah Area Technical Center building the headboard, and students from the Mayfield-Graves County Area Technology Center building the footboard. Marshall County students would also put the pieces together.
"It's kind of an assembly line," said Chris Nelson, the executive vice president of AGC of Western Kentucky. "We've got students making cuts, making different sizes of boards that they need for each station."
Crider said he had heard of the need for beds through Starfish Orphan Ministry.
"We didn't know there was such a need for beds," he said. "We decided this would be a good activity for our carpentry programs in the area because the students are training to be carpenters. We thought it would be a perfect opportunity for them to serve and give back to the community and use their talents."
The experiences that the students are gaining through this project go beyond woodworking and carpentry.
"They're using their skills and giving back to the community," Nelson said. "That's the key thing."