“At the end of the day we are just kids trying to give back.”

By Meghan Overdeep
November 20, 2020
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Credit: Humble ISD

High school students from the Humble Independent School District in Texas are designing and building little homes with a lot of heart.

The student-led initiative, called “Students Helping Veterans: Big Heroes, Tiny Homes,” began in 2018. So far, students from Kingwood Park High School and Summer Creek High School have provided three houses to homeless veterans, with more under construction.

Roughly 40 architecture and engineering students work through all sorts of weather to build the homes from the ground up. In only 209 square feet, students are able to fit all the essentials: utilities, television, built-in cabinets, a bed, and air-conditioning.

Former Marine Sgt. Edward Rodriguez, an Operation Desert Storm veteran, moved into one of the homes after experiencing a stroke.

“I lost my job, my home, and just found myself in need,” Sgt. Rodriguez said in a statement. “Being a Marine and a Black Belt and strong, always relying on my own strength, I got humbled and had to ask for help, which was something I wasn’t used to.”

He said having his own tiny has allowed him time and space for physical recovery.

“Being able to pick up a veteran off the street and give him a home to live in and grow is just amazing to me,” Kingwood Park High School senior Parker Ryan told KHOU11.

Each tiny home is built on the Kingwood Park or Summer Creek high school campus before being moved about 40 miles away to Liberty, Texas. All are designed for full-time occupancy.

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The students design the homes with drafting software, build models, and then make revisions after consulting with professional architects. Everything from the paint colors to the construction budget are decided by the high schoolers. They’re even responsible for the fundraising.

“At the end of the day we are just kids,” C.J. Schoettlin, a student at Kingwood Park High School, told KHOU11. “Trying to give back.”

Donors can support the project through tax-deductible contributions to the Humble ISD Education Foundation at HumbleISDFoundation.org.