Isabella Turner had never considered roofing as a career.
But after spending the day working atop the new headquarters of iHuman Youth Society – the organization she credits for helping her overcome addiction – Turner said she might become a roofer one day.
“I actually like it,” she said. “Now that I’m getting the feel of roofing, I actually want to pursue this. I think I might do an apprenticeship.”
iHuman is a non-profit organization that helps troubled youth. This week, construction continued at the site of the group’s new home at 96th Street and 102A Avenue.
Several former troubled youth – including Turner – were helping put the roof down at the new building.
Nick Richardson, of A&M roofing, offered his company’s labour and mentoring services for free. He said he is encouraged by the enthusiasm the young people have brought to the job.
“All of them are doing really well,” he said. “They are all potential roofers.”
Richardson said there is a shortage of roofers in Edmonton, and if the iHuman workers continue to show potential, he would consider hiring them and help them through a 4-year roofing school.
“Hopefully when we get some more projects we can hire some of them on and try and get them a roofing apprenticeship,” said Richardson.
iHuman’s 14 staff and volunteers help about 500 of Edmonton’s high-risk youth every year.
Officials with the program say having some who’ve been through the program involved in this project is a way to boost their confidence and learn new skills.
“That’s a great self-esteem builder,” said iHuman executive director Catherine Broomfield. “It builds confidence and lets them know they can get hired on, that they can communicate with an employer and keep a job."
Even if Turner doesn’t eventually become a roofer, she is happy to help the organization that helped her change her life.
“It means a lot to me,” she said. “This is my second home.”