Transforming e-waste into dog beds

As part of their curriculum, students in Riverdale High School’s CFER program operate an e-waste recycling business. In converting an old TV console into a funky new dog bed, they used competencies learned through art, entrepreneurship and their workshop to raise money for a local organization that helps canines in need.

Riverdale students with their original design.

CFER stands for Centre de formation en Entreprise et Récupération. It is a program of study similar to the Work-Oriented Training Path’s Prework Training option. The CFER program includes the same academic courses as Prework Training and the same number of hours of work skills. “What differentiates it is the way the program is taught and the fact that every CFER has an in-house business focused around an environmental theme. The Riverdale CFER recycles electronics,” says Sonya Vann, a work-placement animator with the Lester B. Pearson School Board.

After the first success, a student paints a second console.

Lola Bourget is an integration aide who works with the 30 students enrolled in the CFER program. She accompanies them on work placements, helps them with their reading and does art with them. “I’m always looking for art projects that the kids can manage and that look good,” she says. Browsing the web, she came across the idea of converting old TV consoles into dog beds. “I thought: ‘We get TV consoles. We could do this.’”

Finished dog bed donated

A month and a half later, the students had completed their first dog bed. Various students worked on it at different times, with a core group of about eight doing much of the sanding, painting and decorating.

Riverdale students call this design “shabby chic.”

The students donated their finished product to a local non-profit organization—Rosie Animal Adoption—that was able to raise a very welcome $500 by putting the bed up for auction. The project also won the students a first prize (Montréal region) in the 2014 Québec Entrepreneurship Contest.