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Inmates build items for Habitat Red Deer ReStore to sell

By Josh Hall, rdnewsnow

February 17, 2022

A number of new items are for sale at Red Deer’s Habitat for Humanity ReStore, courtesy of inmates at Bowden Institution.

The 26 items, which were built by students in a pre-employment carpentry program, range from end tables to Adirondack chairs to coffee tables, with varying colours and finishes.

Sold at a discounted price, proceeds support Habitat Red Deer’s operations and affordable home ownership program.

“Many of the inmates who are incarcerated do not have the skills to land a job upon release,” notes Robert Couture, program instructor at Bowden Institution.

“If a student decides to continue, they can indenture under myself or another instructor to start their apprenticeship while incarcerated. Some of my former students have even gone on to become journeyman carpenters. It really is a wonderful story to tell; the fact that we are able to do some positive for the community while teaching the inmates new skills”.

The program at Bowden lasts eight weeks, and carries with it a theoretical component from NAIT based on courses a first-year apprentice would take. Students then spend time in the shop learning to read blueprints, cut and assemble their projects.

“They just really are beautiful pieces,” says Kathy Pipes, ReStore Director of Operations. “We are so blessed to have had them reach out to us about this. What an incredible program.”

The ReStore can be found at 4732 78A Close in north Red Deer.

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