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‘Win-win’ project

Fegely Middle School eighth-graders recently built bunk beds donate Portage Resale Shop. |  Phoprovided

Fegely Middle School eighth-graders recently built bunk beds to donate to the Portage Resale Shop. | Photo provided

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Updated: January 1, 2013 6:18AM



‘The project was a complete win-win for everyone involved.”

That is how Joanne Lehmann described a project recently completed by Deb Seeley’s industrial technology class and donated to the Portage Resale Shop. Lehmann is a speech and language pathologist who works with students at Fegely Middle School, Portage High School, Myers Elementary and Central Elementary. She also is on the board of the Resale Shop.

“Bunk beds are an item always asked for and always needed when families are transitioning out of a shelter and into their own place,” said Brandon Miller, executive director of the Portage Resale Shop. “They can be a real space saver for families with several children.

“We rarely get donations of bunk beds, though. I mentioned it at our board meeting, and Joanne Lehmann came up with this idea.”

The Fegely eighth-graders built two sets of bunk beds from blueprints Seeley found online.

“These plans were easily understood,” Seeley said. “My two eighth-grade classes — about 48 students — combined to build them. They learned how to use all the tools safely and rotated so they all had an opportunity to work on all the different facets of construction.

“The kids were so generous, so positive about helping others. They were thrilled when Brandon came over to pick them up ... . What a wonderful community-student project.”

Seeley, who has taught at Fegely for 19 years, knew exactly how to guide the students in this project. She has worked in construction, including cabinet making.

The project also was special for Miller, who attended Fegely.

“As a board member of the Resale Shop, I was happy to connect Deb Seeley with Brandon,” Lehmann said. “Deb has a big heart and is always looking at ways of connecting students with their community.

“When we were discussing the needs of the homeless in Porter County at one of our board meetings, it seemed like a natural fit. Deb jumped at the opportunity.”

The students painted the bunk beds dark blue, so they would be less likely to show dirt or wear. Seeley planned to start her classes working on two new sets shortly.

“We are not sure what families will receive these,” Miller said. “We’re talking to Gabriel’s Horn and Housing Opportunities to see who would benefit the most.”

From the smiles on the students’ faces as the beds were loaded onto the truck to be taken to the Resale Shop, it was clear they benefitted from the project, knowing they were helping people in need.

It was fitting that the donation took place during Thanksgiving week.



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