Safety Managers Find Common Ground with Students at The Other Side Academy
On February 21, Layton safety managers conducted a basic safety training for crews from The Other Side Academy, a training school in Salt Lake City where students – people who have hit rock bottom, such as those facing long-term incarceration – learn pro-social, vocational and life skills allowing them to emerge with a healthy life on “the other side.”
Safety Manager Lawrence Vaughn led the training and emphasized safety as a core value, watching your fellow worker’s back and the basics of ladder safety, housekeeping and staying alert for hazards.
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The training was well received and afterward students took safety managers on a tour of the growing academy and fed them lunch from the academy’s commercial kitchen.
“What an honor to share part of the day providing training and sharing time with a great group of people and a great organization,” said Safety Manager Scott Pitt.
The idea for the training came from Preconstruction Manager Jordon Gillman, who had toured the academy in December. “One of The Other Side Academy students had put together a video with all of their construction photos along with a poem that compared the constraints of construction with the constraints of what these students go through in the changing of their behavior. It was very moving, and while watching the video I noticed some activities being done without the proper safety equipment. It made me think of how we could help even if it’s something as simple as a safety training and donating hard hats and other PPE.”
After the training the Layton safety managers commented on the similarity of the human behavior challenges between both organizations – teaching people to be accountable, honest, follow the rules and to look out for others.
“The Other Side Academy is a great organization where human beings have an opportunity to change their lives,” said Safety Manger Estuardo Perez. “We were so impressed with their great behavior and with their courage to accomplish their goals – and all of them treated us like brothers. As Layton Construction employees we were honored to be around wonderful people, and to utilize our skills to help them recognize safety hazards in their daily activities.”
The Other Side Academy is an Inspiring and True American Success Story
You’ve got to love a place that helps substance abusers, convicts and the homeless do a lasting about face and change their lives forever. Without government assistance.
The Other Side Academy is not a drug rehabilitation program, a group home, or correctional facility. Prospective students must apply to the academy where their commitment to change and willingness to work are assessed. Those who demonstrate that they are not ready to be honest about their responsibility for their own actions are rejected. Lifelong behaviors won't change overnight. Students must commit to attend for at least two years.
At the Academy, students are taught fundamental personal management and relationship skills, such as keeping one’s promise, accountability, love, charity and dependability. They work hard, have a good attitude, and watch out for the next person after themselves. (Sounds very much like Layton Construction's core values.) During Layton’s tour of the Academy, former convicts Laef and Colton talked confidently as they proudly showed the quality of their tile craftsmanship. Jordon led the tour and was clearly confident and poised as he spoke about the success of the Academy in putting people on a permanent path to a better life.
In addition to learning self-governance, students work. They contribute to the Academy’s bottom line. The Academy is self-sustaining because of the income generated by its various vocational training schools. These schools include The Other Side Movers and The Other Side Thrift Boutique. Students work in these businesses, and in the process, learn marketing, business and trade skills. Whether a student cooks, cleans the Academy, or runs the register at the Thrift Boutique, everyone contributes as a part of the team.
The Other Side Academy embraces “community as method” or more simply put, that the community is the “doctor.” This therapeutic approach has a focus on changing negative patterns of thinking and behavior through individual and peer interactions, group sessions with peers, community-based learning, confrontation, games, and role-playing.
The Other Side Academy students are expected to become role models who actively reflect the values and teachings of the community. Ordered routine activities are intended to counter the characteristically disordered lives of these students and teach them how to plan, set, and achieve goals and be accountable.
In addition to the importance of the community as a primary agent of change, second fundamental principle is “self-help.” Self-help implies that the individuals in treatment are the main contributors to the change process. “Mutual self-help” means that individuals also assume partial responsibility for the recovery of their peers—an important aspect of an individual’s own treatment. The power of mutual self-help is expressed in the statement: When “A” helps “B,” “A” gets better.