A group of students on the Hay River Reserve recently received a unique lesson on housing.

Ayden Tambour displays a completed checklist after students from Chief Sunrise Education Centre inspected a house on the Hay River Reserve on Nov. 25. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

On Nov. 25, the nine youngsters – in Kindergarten to Grade 4 at Chief Sunrise Education Centre – were given clipboards and invited to run through checklists to inspect a house ready to be occupied.

Ashley Beck, a teacher at the school, explained it was a follow-up to a ‘kindness project’ undertaken during the last school year.

“They were trying to make the world a better place,” Beck said. “So they identified basic human needs and then talked about what it looks like if those needs are met or not met.”

On Nov. 25, Chief April Martel of K’atlodeeche First Nation and student Cameron Fabian go over what needs to be inspected in a house on the Hay River Reserve. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Two of the students – Liam Martel-Tourangeau and Katelynne Poitras – wrote Chief April Martel of K’atlodeeche First Nation (KFN) with their concerns about homelessness and delivered the letters personally.

“So Chief April asked them to come back and be part of this today so they could kind of see the follow-up,” Beck said of the inspection of the two-storey, five bedroom house.

It was one of the six houses fixed up and transferred to KFN earlier this year by the NWT Housing Corporation. The house had never been lived in and had stoo

Liam Martel-Tourangeau looks into a cupboard on Nov. 25 while he and other youngsters made sure an empty house on the Hay River Reserve was ready for occupancy. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

d empty for years.

Liam said he would be checking to make sure nothing was broken in the house.

Katelynne said she would be checking the furniture, the temperature and if it was a clean house.

They and the other students – all between five and 10 years of age – carried out their mission and checked the lights, windows, cupboards, doors and many other things.

Martel said it was the idea of KFN executive assistant Natasha Landry to invite the children to inspect the house.

Ryker Nestle ensures a window is up to par while he and other students from Chief Sunrise Education Centre played the role of house inspectors on Nov. 25. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

“We want the kids to be part of this project because it’s so important to them because they’re the ones that motivated us to move forward in moving families into homes right away,” said the chief.

Speaking on Nov. 25, Martel said it was hoped that the houses would be occupied by the beginning of December.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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