Matt Clark has found new direction to his life thanks to Fresh Start, a CAP Services training program for young adults.
Although Clark, age 19, left high school before he graduated, he earned his diploma a month ago and is now learning carpentry skills.
Clark said he worked one-on-one with a CAP Services instructor, Amanda Daniels, to prepare for the high school graduate equivalency exam.
“Amanda would give me essay topics and I would write the essays. Then she would correct the spelling, grammar and punctuation,” Clark said. “Amanda told me I jumped four grade levels while I’ve been here.”
Clark joined Fresh Start in October 2011 after hearing about the program from a friend.
“I worked five days as a volunteer, then they decided if I was eligible for the program,” Clark said.
Clark said Fresh Start has been teaching him the basics of construction, beginning with how to use the tools of the trade – hammers, saws, drills, measuring tape – and to build the framing, walls, roofing and finished carpentry in a home.
Fresh Start has also given Clark a new outlook on life.
“I’ve learned that if you mess up, it’s not the end of the world. You need to pick up the pieces and work hard,” Clark said.
In addition to hands-on carpentry, Clark is also learning some business management skills. He was involved in making phone calls to obtain bids for contracted services on the homes CAP Services is building in Waupaca’s Eastgate Estates subdivision.
After he completes the program in August, Clark will qualify for a $2,500 education award through AmeriCorps, which provides funding for the program. He plans to use the award to further his education in business management at a technical college.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn construction skills and even get paid for it while earning your diploma,” Clark said.
Currently, there are 19 participants in the Fresh Start program in Waupaca.
For more information about the program, contact Cindy Enyart at 715-258-9575, ext. 217, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.