Construction, Nonprofits, and Sustainability

Apprentices light up holiday for youth

December 22, 2015
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Feyen Zylstra Tree
The students in Feyen Zylstra’s apprenticeship program have created Christmas trees using scrap materials. Courtesy Feyen Zylstra

Apprentices from a Grand Rapids-based electrical services company are lighting up the holidays for a group of at-risk students via scrap metal Christmas trees.

Feyen Zylstra’s four classes of apprenticeship students put their creativity to work and competed with one another to build scrap metal Christmas trees and raise money for the YMCA Child Development Center at Covenant House Academy via a Facebook contest.

The apprenticeship students used scrap metal from the company’s prefabrication shop, lights that meet the National Electrical Code, and their newly developed trade skills to complete their Christmas tree projects, which are now on display on the company’s Facebook page.

Feyen Zylstra is asking the public to get involved by voting for their favorite Christmas tree on its Facebook page

Votes will be tallied at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 23, and the tree with the most “likes” at that time will win.

Feyen Zylstra plans to donate $1 for every vote received for the winning scrap metal Christmas tree to the YMCA Child Development Center at Covenant House, making the organization the real winner.

The center provides child care for infants, toddlers and preschoolers while their mothers are at school at Covenant House, a charter school dedicated to helping at-risk, high school dropouts and homeless youth earn a diploma.

The child development center provides healthy meals and snacks, a creative curriculum, swim lessons and more while preparing children for future academic learning.

Nate Koetje, CEO of Feyen Zylstra, said the Christmas tree competition is a chance for “the guys to have some fun while putting their new skills to use.”

“It was a creative outlet and team-building opportunity, but also provided a way for us to give back this holiday season. We hope the community will get involved by voting on Facebook,” he said.

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