YouthBuild Omaha Class Honors MLK Day with Project for Culxr House

As the only federal holiday designated a day of service, Martin Luther King Jr. Day gives Americans a chance to head out into their communities and do some good to improve them. One of the pillars of Goodwill Omaha’s YouthBuild program is community service, so, on Monday, Jan. 17, the YouthBuild Omaha class will head to Culxr House, a grassroots nonprofit organization that promotes youth arts in north Omaha. The goal: build a partition wall with a window, a rollup garage door, and a standard door.

Goodwill Omaha’s YouthBuild program is a national, community-based skills-training program designed to prepare disadvantaged and at-risk youth for apprenticeships in the construction trades. YouthBuild students split their time between construction training job sites and the classroom, where they earn their high school diplomas, learn to become community leaders, and prepare for post-secondary training and long-term employment.

Culxr House provides community workspace in north Omaha for artists working in almost any media. Visual artists can set up their easels and supplies and create in the space, and podcast and production studios enable rising musicians, filmmakers, activists, and others to develop and hone their skills and projects.

“We’re working on a community-built creative arts park,” said Culxr House founder Marcey Yates, “which we plan to open this summer. We’re grateful to the YouthBuild Omaha class for volunteering to help. The partition they’re building will help us create a storage space separate from the creative arts park.”

Yates is an artist himself and has supported the arts and other Omaha nonprofits for many years. With Culxr House, Yates continues those efforts and lends his talent and expertise to help youth cultivate their own talents.

“We will be building the room utilizing steel framing,” said Tyler Swain, YouthBuild construction trainer at Goodwill Omaha, “so this is an excellent opportunity for the class to explore this modern style of framing.

“The arts are vital to communities,” Swain continued, “and working on this project for Culxr House gives our YouthBuild class a chance to become a part of the arts in their own community. Culxr House is a place where our students and their children can go to explore the arts and uncover their own talents, so this day-of-service project gives them an opportunity to invest in their community and their future.”