October 16, 2015

When the Roberts Family Development Center (RFDC) asked DPR for help building a small concrete pad needed on its Sacramento campus, DPR was happy to comply – but quickly devised a way to expand the community service project into a learning opportunity for the youth served by the center.

As a result, approximately 35 first-through-seventh graders learned about concrete construction in a fun, hands-on session led by eight DPR volunteers on Sept. 22.

The RFDC children added a creative touch to stepping stones as part of their lesson in casting concrete. Photo courtesy Megan Valles. 

The after-school class taught students about the concrete process, from design and grading to formwork, reinforcement, concrete placement and finishing. The hourlong learning session included a PowerPoint presentation featuring actual DPR jobsite pictures as well as hands-on activities that allowed the children to get their hands dirty casting small concrete stepping stones. The young participants received small DPR gift bags filled with DPR notebooks and snacks.

The class was a hit with the children, according to Megan Valles, who organized the project for DPR.

“I was really surprised that everyone in the room, from youngest to oldest, was engaged for the entire time,” she commented. “I think the neatest part for me was the kids who reached out and mentioned they had family members in construction. You could just tell the sense of pride for them and how they personally could relate to the volunteers in the room and what was being presented.”

The event offered a chance for the DPR superintendents, project engineers, project managers and other volunteer staff to interact directly with children who benefit from the DPR Foundation-supported Center. “It was great that even a couple of our newer employees participated and showed they are eager to get involved with some of our community efforts,” Valles added.

Photo courtesy Megan Valles.

DPR hopes to engage the youngsters in a second phase of learning about concrete construction when it completes the second phase of this initiative, prepping and pouring the concrete pad, sometime within the next few weeks.