Local businesses offering how-to courses

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Planning on doing some yard work or small home projects this spring, but have little experience working with your hands?

Help is available for people of all ages and genders as local how-to courses are offered by both the Home Depot and Lowe’s locations in Houma.

“We’ve had a great reception for the programs within the community,” said Lowe’s manager David Tassin. “We’ve had very positive comments, either through E-mails people send to the company headquarters or customers actually coming in and saying they are happy with what we’re doing.”

This past Saturday, Lowe’s hosted a five-part tutorial session to give people some tips for gardening and building projects.

Among the items that were on the list were lawn care, edibles, designer landscape, pruning and mower tune-up.

The store also has similar events throughout the year to teach people the skills of whatever trade is popular in each season.

The next event will be on Saturday when Lowe’s teams up with the Bayou Area Habitat for Humanity and hosts the second annual Lowe’s Home Improvement training clinic of 2010.

“Everyone could learn something from the courses we are offering,” Tassin said. “We are here to help anyone, no matter their experience level.”

The store manager also said Lowe’s has countless how-to books available in all of its departments in addition to several Web tutorials for customers with Internet access.

“Lowes.com has pretty much everything you can think of,” Tassin touted. “You can learn a lot of valuable how-to information there for all of the services our store provides.”

Like Lowe’s, Home Depot also does its best to keep people interested in home projects.

On Thursday, the store went to Bourg Elementary School for a series of four workshops.

The goal of the workshops was to ease children’s tensions about doing home and gardening work on their own.

“We want to calm them and show the kids that they can build things and yes you can do it,” said assistant store manager Lana Robert. “It shows they can build projects on their own.”

Home Depot’s Code and Configuration Management (CCM) coordinator Thomas Simoneaux went and conducted the workshop at the school and said it was a success.

“We got into showing them how to hold a hammer and how to drive in some nails,” Simoneaux said. “It’s a little project they can use or play with and put in their rooms afterwards … We had about 80 kids in four different classes and everyone was asking us when our next class was, so it went very well.”

The gathering at Bourg Elementary School was a part of the store’s Kid’s Workshop program, which also has similar events on the first Saturday of each month inside of the store.

In addition to reaching out to children, Home Depot also has programs that seek to get women involved in building projects they wouldn’t otherwise attempt.

The store hosts a program called Women’s Workshop. The program is designed to give females a basic foundation of knowledge so they can attempt projects on their own if they’d like to get involved.

“We know that the services we provide are historically man’s work,” Robert said. “But we want to get more women involved, because we can do it, too. So with this program, we start with little projects and build them up. Then they start to think, ‘Hey, if we can do tile, we can do something else, too.’ It builds up a foundation for these women.”

Like the Kid’s Workshop, Robert said the Women’s Workshop has been well received in the community.

“It’s a great resource,” she said. “And we’ve had a very favorable following.”

But no matter a person’s motivation, some projects will inevitably require outside help, and Tassin gave a few things to consider when looking for assistance.

“Make sure the people you call are people you can trust,” he said. “And if you take on a job, just try and make sure it fits your capabilities, but even if it’s not, there is plenty of good help available both here at Lowe’s and elsewhere.”

Dannell Dufrene and Thomas Simoneaux from Home Depot recently helped kindergarten students from Bourg Elementary with woodworking projects. * Photo courtesy of BOURG ELEMENTARY