The Hope Foundation, with the help of NAIT, paired 11 students from Hobbema with seven students from McCauley School in Edmonton and had them spend two weeks in NAIT’s machine shops, crafting coffee tables and belt buckles.

“Hope is about looking into our future,” said Lenora LeMay, director of educational services with Hope Foundation. “Some of them haven’t considered doing some work with their hands when (they’re older).”

At first, the Aboriginal students, ages 13 to 16, were a little wary of the idea of working in the shops, but it didn’t take long for their interest to peak, LeMay said.

“Some of the students were hesitant, but when they arrived their enthusiasm and comfort level (grew),” she said.

One the students, 14-year-old Tyson Cowsun, said that while he while he was still looking toward a future as an electrician, the experience of building a table was a good method of looking into other possible careers.

“We learned lots of stuff and that was fun,” said Cowsun.