'Bond at the Betts' exposes youth to building trades

The 11th annual Bond at the Betts begins next week, giving nearly 300 youth from inner-city neighborhoods a hands-on introduction to the building trades. Held at the Betts House Research Center in Cincinnati's West End, participating children will be able to try their hand at mixing mortar, laying brick, blacksmithing, roofing, and architecture. Katie Lear of the Westwood Town Hall Recreation Center will be taking 23 kids from her teen groups, the third year she has attended.

"It introduces them to new fields that they can go into when they get older," she says.  "Some don't even realize that they'd be good at it."

This year's instructors will be Mark Mages of Roofing Supply Group, George Russell and Greg Morasteik of Hummel Restoration, Marsha Meadows Nelson, and Murray Monroe of THP Limited, Inc. The session leaders will discuss safety procedures, demonstrate proper technique , and offer guidance on how to pursue a career in the building trades.

Then the kids go to town.

Lear says that one 13-year-old boy from College Hill got hooked on roofing.

"He was really excited," she says.  "He was going to look into going that route for a career."

The Betts House created the program to better connect the museum to the neighboring communities.

"It's another way to keep them engaged with us," says Julie Carpenter of the Betts House.

Bond at the Betts is supported by grants from The Spirit of Construction Foundation, Christ Church Cathedral, and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

Sessions are scheduled for June 9, 10, 16, 17, 24 and 25.

Writer: Kevin LeMaster
Source: Julie Carpenter, Betts House Research Center; Katie Lear, Westwood Town Hall Recreation Center