Woodworking has been a passion of mine for a long time. Losing myself in a creative woodworking project may be the most restful thing I do, and creative time in the woodshop recharges my batteries.
You know what it’s like when you’re passionate about something – you want to share that passion with others.
As you may know, another passion of mine is caring for kids in Colorado Springs. The Love Your Neighbor ministry builds and delivers bunk beds to underprivileged kids on a regular basis. I want every child in Colorado Springs to have a comfortable place to lay their head at night.
So, after the tools for Humblewood Workshop were donated a few years ago, I started dreaming of ways to share my passions and find ways to invest in the local youth. You can read more about Humblewood here.
In January of 2021, we started our first mentorship/woodshop program with four students from Pikes Peak Academy High School.
When I first began working on the why behind this program, it was clear to me that the main goal would not be to turn these students into master woodworkers. The most important part of this program is to create a place where the students would feel like they matter.
A place they would feel comfortable messing up.
A place they could work on their projects with patient leaders.
A place they would feel seen, known and loved.
I decided on 3 projects for the students to work on:
Project 1 – Build a bunk bed
Project 2 – Build something for someone you care about
Project 3 – Any project of the student’s choice
All four students worked together to build a bunk bed from start to finish.
They each worked on different parts that came together to build one complete bunk bed. This project taught them a few different things: basic woodworking skills, how to work together, and how to focus on a project that is being built to give away.
When they finished the bunk bed, they were officially part of the Love Your Neighbor team and got to burn their names on the sign-in board!
The bunk bed they made was delivered to a family that already had a 7-year-old boy and was taking in another young boy that had been removed from his home – I was able to share that info with the students – they could see that their hard work made an impact in the life of a child going through some hard times.
This was by far my favorite project. It was so great to see each student think through what they wanted to build, who they wanted to give it to and why it would be meaningful to that person.
These students built some beautiful pieces. There were two cutting boards made for their moms, a necklace to give to a girlfriend, and custom grips for a father’s vintage pistol.
Due to some snow days and cancelled classes, only one student was able to move on to his final project. The lamp he made was pretty awesome – a minimalist lamp out of a solid block of walnut with a round Edison bulb.
Getting to know the students and seeing their skills progress soon became the highlight of my week.
Watching them light up as their projects started coming together was remarkable. They worked so hard and were excited to see their finished projects.
It’s hard to describe how proud I am of each student – I feel so lucky that I was able to share my passion with them, help them focus on others and remind them to do everything in love.
This group was the first of many and I can’t wait for the next group to start!
I hope each student learned some basic woodworking skills over the last few months, but more than that, I hope they all felt seen, known and loved each time they stepped into Humblewood Workshop.