Kids Build: Laying The Groundwork in Schools
Kids Build originally began as a program in Oregon and Washington with the goal of connecting with parents and children in the surrounding communities to the trades. While its sister program down in Portland had found its stride, the Washington program ran into attendance problems. Many parents would sign children up months in advance and then forget about the event. With limited space available and people failing to cancel their slot, many workshops were only attended by six to ten kids.
After a project-based learning workshop at Bose Elementary, Lisa Marx (LU 70), Apprentice Outreach Coordinator at NWCI and founder of the Apprentice Ambassador Program came to a solution. Instead of offering it once a month to a community, Marx decided it would be more efficient to partner with schools and create a workshop within the classroom. This had the benefit of keeping the same target audience and ensuring full attendance.
The workshops have now become a smash hit.
They are now an opportunity for the kids to work with their hands and build something for themselves–all at no cost to the school or teachers.
“The teachers are so grateful.” Lisa admits, “I show up with all the tools, supplies, and the precut builds, they don’t have to buy anything. With the budget cuts facing many schools today, I think the teachers are truly excited for the support and opportunity to introduce the children to something new.” This has turned into a much better connection with the community, schools, parents, teachers and the students.
“We affect a lot of people. Much of our outreach is to a specific group, and yet we end up touching the lives of others as well. We’ve been getting a demand for Kids Build in more schools and they remember our name. I think those kinds of relationships are important because when it comes to the issue of bringing the trades back into schools, they’ll remember us when it comes time to vote or suggest career paths.”