(KMSP) - Twin Cities students are learning how to build canoes as part of a program called Urban Boat Builders.
Each year, the program helps about 500 students in the metro. These kids may struggle in the traditional school setting, but for a few months out of the year, they feel welcome and gain confidence and self-esteem.
High schooler Que Adams calls it his safe place. Urban Boat Builders is teaching him the streets have nothing good to offer.
"I have anger issues and working here I develop different skills so either you get your act together or your stuck in the same situation," Adams said.
They learn how to be on time for work, positive interaction with peers and responsibility.
"It's critical we work with this youth and give them chances to really create futures for themselves," said Marc Hosmer, the executive director of Urban Boat Builders.
Shyanna Carpenter used to skip school, now she's an instructor.
"I was getting into trouble a lot with my mom and now my mom sees the responsibility and I'm actually trying to do things, I've been going to school getting better grades," Carpenter said.
These students are also lashing 187 pieces of nylon thread, one string at a time, to hinge the frame.
After about three months of intense work, the boats hit Minnesota lakes and the students get to steer their vessels for the very first time.
They embark on their final lesson to never give up. If the canoe tips over, they get back in and try again.
Urban boat builders is looking to buy a new trailer to haul around all the equipment and boats. If you'd like to help or volunteer, or want to learn more visit urbanboatbuilders.org.