© Edmonton Journal

Near the townsite of Maskwacis on the Ermineskin Cree Nation, Carter Strongquill is showing a dozen teenagers how to measure and cut building material stacked up across a sawhorse bench, but he’s also realizing a lifelong ambition.

“Being a young man growing up on a reserve, I’ve always dreamed of helping out my people and doing something for the communities,” says Strongquill, a graduate of Your Choice Homes building program who is now passing on his construction skills to youth.

The high school students huddled around a workbench Wednesday were building three 750-sq.-ft. bungalows for local elders in the community about 96 kilometres south of Edmonton.

The eight-week program enlisted 36 students from the three high schools that are part of the Maskwacis Education School Commission through a partnership with Your Choice Homes.