The House that Jack Built

The House that Jack Built

I’ve spoken on the blog before about Homes by Avi’s involvement with Jack James High School. Essentially, students at the school work alongside our staff to build the first floor of a home that, when completed, is sold, with the profits benefiting the program in future years. Jack James is an alternative high school that takes a Knowledge and Employability approach to learning. The school’s focus is to expose the students to possible career paths and get them workplace ready.


This partnership has been around for a while. Nineteen years, to be exact. It runs like a well-oiled machine. It’s not fussy, so no one makes a fuss. But the thing is, this initiative and the dedicated people involved deserve a fuss. At the very least, they deserve a fuss. So, fuss I will.



Jack James Student

My husband went to a performing arts high school, which, in my mind, means the school from the movie/TV show Fame. It wasn’t quite that cool, but it did allow him the freedom to explore his passions for music and theatre in a supportive environment that put less emphasis on tests and grades and more on experiential learning. Now that our daughter is set to start school in the fall, we spend a lot of time discussing the kind of education we want for her. I’m not a fan of standardized education. I want my daughter to grow up in an environment that values diversity and customization. I want her education to be the totality of her experiences, not what she regurgitates on a multiple choice test. Unfortunately, this is not likely to be her reality. But that’s why Jack James is such a gem.


At the heart of Jack James is the understanding that not all kids get the same start in life; they don’t all have the same opportunities or support systems; they don’t all learn the same way; and their interests aren’t always represented in the core curriculum of mainstream schools. By working with their teachers and Homes by Avi staffers to build an actual home that a family will live in and love, the students at Jack James gain the confidence (and skills) necessary to pursue careers in the construction and home building industries. And that’s what Avi Amir wanted when he began the program, to attract dedicated and passionate people to home building.


I can speak endlessly about Homes by Avi’s partnership with Jack James, but the best way to learn about the program’s significance is to let its participants tell you.


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