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Tag Archives | skills
Shop class, 1921

The Next Generation







How important are shop classes in high schools? Are they just a thing of the past? Obviously, most of us in the tool community would advocate their value, but will principals and superintendents and school boards keep them? (Did you have one? Does it still exist? Is it offered to your kids?) Amid budget cuts, will they survive?

This article isn’t brand new but where else are kids learning these basic skills? Some are still around but have skewed toward technology. Should we be relying on organizations or should it be in specialty schools or taught at home?

We’d love to hear your input.

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Tools for Good

Have you ever used your tools and skills to give back to your community? Everybody’s heard of Habitat for Humanity, which does great work, but there are literally hundreds of other opportunities that can utilize those same skills and knowledge. Volunteering can be a great way to practice skills, contribute to your community and build your resume or portfolio if needed. If you’re independent, it can even garner you referrals and new clients as you meet new folks! Just to give you an idea, we did a quick search on www.volunteermatch.org to see what was out there. Here’s what we found:

* McDonald Ranch in Santa Rosa, CA says, “McDonald Ranch is a 501c3 non profit organization that teaches life skills to youth through their on going service work helping animals in need. We have a sanctuary on 55 acres in Rincon Valley/Santa Rosa. We have several projects that we must get done soon with our summer camp just a month away. These include building some steps, putting up a railing around a deck and completing our tack barn. Also, we have had to stop taking in rabbits because we don’t have a predator safe area for them. We have the land but need a safe enclosure for them. If you’re a carpenter or have carpentry skills and some time to donate we would love to have you come up and see if you could help us out.”

* Find A Way Home in Georgia says, “One of our affordable rental homes needs a significant amount of work before it can be rented to a new family. The work that needs to be done includes plumbing, electrical, general carpentry, flooring, etc. All the materials have been purchased and staged at the property, and we have a project manager coordinating this effort who will provide specific details of each of the tasks that need to be completed. Volunteer for as many or as few of the tasks as you want – all assistance is appreciated!”

* Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Portland, ME says, “Use your woodworking, carpentry and other skills to preserve and restore old railroad cars. Skills you can use or learn include, carpentry, joining, painting, upholstery, sign-painting and stenciling, metal working, glazing, rigging (moving heavy objects safely), etc. Mondays and Wednesdays, normal business hours.”

* People Working Cooperatively, Inc. in Cincinnati, OH says, “Would you enjoy helping elderly and disabled homeowners remain independent? Do you have solid home repair skills and an interest in helping others? If so, please consider donating your time to People Working Cooperatively as a field service volunteer. You can team up with other volunteers or create your own schedule. The complexity of the repairs you perform are up to you… your job could be as simple as replacing broken glass in a window or as complex as installing a ramp, a deck repair or a bathroom modification. Please contact us if you have the skills or desire to reach out and make a real and lasting difference in the lives of your elderly and disabled neighbors.”

These are just 4 examples, but we found everything from training homeless workers in trade skills to building sets for local theater groups. We also saw calls from summer camps or national parks needing used tools or supplies. So we want to hear from you – what does your community need, have you found opportunities to help out? How has it benefited you?


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