Carmen Kaufman, left, and Kyla Wallin are working as summer students for the Potato House Society and learning the art of composting including using ‘Battle Star Galactica,’ a soil tumbler. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Summer students for Potato House Society a first

The jobs were made possible by several grants

Summer students have been hired for the first time in 10 years to work for the Potato House Sustainability Community Society in Williams Lake.

Carmen Kaufman, 22, and Kyla Wallin, 19, started on Monday, May 11.

Before getting hired as summer students, their knowledge about the Potato House was limited, they admitted.

“I knew it was here and you could bring in your compost and that it was a heritage site, but not much more,” Kyla said.

It always stood out in Williams Lake, Carmen added, noting she knew it had a ‘spooky’ history.

Read more: CCACS announces Support Grants award recipients

Carmen has been studying Spanish and professional communications at the University of Victoria and Kyla just completed her first year of the natural resource science program at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.

As for their fall plans, Carmen said UVIC announced it will predominantly have courses online in the fall and Kyla said TRU has not made any announcements yet.

Potato House executive director Mary Forbes is excited about having the students on board.

Every day has a theme and day two was about self-care, she explained.

Forbes said she, Carmen and Kyla made a list and then she encouraged them to pick one thing to focus on and then remind themselves to focus on it throughout the day.

After being a volunteer for several months, Joe Borsato was hired in August 2019 as the society’s project alchemist and one of his tasks is to apply for grants. Due to his success getting some grants they were able to hire the students.

“We are still waiting to hear on our Canada Summer Jobs funding application, like everyone else in town, but I’m pretty hopeful about it,” Borsato said.

“We’ve had correspondence with them in terms of going onto the next phase of the application and from what I understand from the federal government’s COVID relief program that they are putting more money into the summer jobs program.”

Fortunately, the society received money from the Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations program, which Borsato said they are excited about.

It is funded jointly by the Canadian Museums Association and the National Trust, he added.

“We are doing some restoration and preservation work on the interior and hopefully through that will bring the building more up to code as well so we can have more events and do more functions inside and do stuff in the winter time,” Borsato said, noting that work will be separate from the student positions.

Read more: Potato House calls upon the community for extra funding

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