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 Building Quality Futures at San Diego SOAR Academy

The public can now get unique, hand-crafted furniture while supporting students in juvenile detention facilities by shopping at the new Mission East Mesa website.

The website is part of the building and construction class at the San Diego SOAR Academy's East Mesa site.

Students in the building and construction class have been learning career-technical education skills since 2017. Those lessons have grown to include designing the objects themselves and selling them.

"We are the carpenters of our own destiny," one of the students participating in the class said.

All of the money raised through the sales will pay for supplies for future projects, including wood, tools, glue, hardware, paint, stain, and nails.

"The intention is not just to build quality products but more importantly to produce youth with a high degree of professionalism, so they can succeed at whatever career they choose to pursue," said Alex Long, who teaches the building and construction class. "This program is one powerful tool to rehabilitate these youth and provide real, worthwhile opportunities for them upon release."

Everything on the website can be picked up at the East Mesa site near Otay Mesa. Delivery can also be arranged.

San Diego SOAR Academy is a San Diego County Office of Education program that serves detained students in classrooms at Kearny Mesa and East Mesa juvenile detention facilities as well as Urban Camp and Girls Rehabilitation Facility.

The Probation department choses students who are most likely to benefit from and succeed in the building and construction class.

The students recently showed off their skills as part of an exhibition that included employees who work at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility.

"It felt so good for the students to finally show what they have created in front of a live audience," Long said.