Hands on experience at Kootenay Columbia Learning Centre

Nearly two dozen kids and several hundred works of art will be on display this week at the VISAC Gallery in the Community Centre Building.



It’s show and tell time for the students of the pre-employment programs of the Kootenay-Columbia Learning Centre.

Nearly two dozen kids and several hundred works of art will be on display this week at the VISAC Gallery in the Community Centre Building.

Opening Friday, (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), the pottery and woodwork craft show is a showcase of the pre-employment program, said instructor Derk Zimmer.

“These programs are becoming the heart of what we do here. We deliver academics with their work as well,” he said.

With Phil Power teaching construction (wood working) and professional potter Mary Anne Kelly in the ceramics room, the classes are preparing young people to practice a craft, to hone a skill that is trade based.

“The whole idea is to make money, to create income from your skills,” said Zimmer.

The small, therapeutic classes offer a hands-on experience for young people, ranging in age from Grade 5 to adult, said Zimmer.

“Some of the kids are off the scale, genius level when it comes to the hands on skills,” he said. “They have that ability to see that way, but they don’t fit into the academic mainstream, which is incredibly frustrating for them.”

“We’ve got some really productive kids that are going to become really healthy adults,” Kelly added.