Thank you so much for your support of Sawhorse Revolution this year! Your monthly gifts have fueled our mission to foster confident, community-oriented youth through the power of carpentry and craft. Your commitment makes our work sustainable and empowers us to dream bigger, connect with more young people, and continue to grow. We are so grateful for your generosity.
With the end of the year quickly approaching, we’d like to take this opportunity to review and reflect on our programs this year.
As many of you know, Sawhorse programs thrived this spring. Students from Interagency Academy, an alternative public high school, built a wheelchair ramp for residents at Nickelsville Homeless Community in Seattle’s Central District. This program, a partnership with Master Builders Association’s “Ramphathon,” called students to address wheelchair accessibility in Nickelsville, where Sawhorse students had previously built and installed two tiny homes and a bathroom.
Concurrent to the ramp project, our first All Women’s Design/Build program completed a custom tiny home for a homeless village in Othello. These students worked with professionals in architecture and carpentry to learn widely-applicable skills. And with the guidance of our amazing counselor and fellow Sawhorse Revolutionary, Camille Faulkner, they explored questions of women’s leadership, communication, and empowerment in the workforce and society more broadly.
Sawhorse led a third student group to create a tiny home made entirely of salvaged and second-hand materials. Students learned green building principles as they collaborated to create this amazing living space!
Summer brought our annual Adventure Build summer camp at nonprofit-owned Smoke Farm in Arlington, WA. Students completed two fantastic new structures, gained carpentry skills, and built a sense of community in only one week. Half built a Taoist-style tea house with burnt cedar siding and a shake roof. Our second crew supplied a kiosk for low-income vendors through our partners Friends of the Waterfront Seattle. The intensive experience of working together so closely encourages youth to overcome personal barriers and form deep friendships. One student’s transformation embodied this potential at this year’s camp. In Sarah’s words:
This student, who was one year into his recovery from a traumatic brain injury, really struggled at the start of camp to open up. He initially seemed closed-off and had a hard time concentrating. But through the ongoing freedom to work on projects and the effort of mentors, he got comfortable and really started to share his life, as well as help with more aspects of camp. It was amazing to see how everyone’s support seemed to shoulder his suffering, even if it was only for one week.
This fall, Sawhorse hosted a panel at the Seattle Design Festival, titled “Dream, Design, Build, Repeat.” Sawhorse students, designers, and staff explored design education, class and gender barriers, dignity within Sawhorse programs, and designing amid homelessness.
We also hosted our first Community Build. In these programs, adult volunteers join Sawhorse youth and building professionals for a joyful day of working and learning together. At our fall Community Build, we partnered with BNBuilders to construct a tiny house “duplex” for a family experiencing homelessness. Over 25 volunteers pitched in, providing a secure and stable home.
Finally, Sawhorse wrapped up our fall semester program with Interagency Academy (an alternative Seattle high school) and embarked upon our second All Women’s Design/Build Program! Over the course of the fall, a dozen young women have been designing a new security booth for the Seattle Tiny House for Homeless Villages, guided by professional architects. Just two weeks ago, these young women presented their designs to their homeless clients, and integrated feedback into their final draft. We are so proud of these students’ empathy, hard work, and creativity, and look forward to watching them bring their designs to life next spring.
2017 is shaping up to be a year of growth for Sawhorse Revolution. We look forward to ongoing work with students during the rest of the 2016-17 school year and at our summer programs. With six years of innovative programs under our belt, we’ve honed a model for community-oriented carpentry that gives students the full experience of dreaming, designing, and building a better world. In the coming years, we aim to evaluate and expand our design/build curriculum so that more students can experience the power of carpentry and craft and forge new pathways for powerful community service.
Your support as Revolutionaries was instrumental in bringing these amazing programs to life this year. Your contributions ignite youth to use their imaginations, hands, and hammers in service of their own communities. You are truly making a difference in the lives of young people!
We are deeply grateful for your generosity. Thank you for joining our conversation on education, and for your ongoing, invaluable support.
From all of us at Sawhorse, we wish you a joyful New Year’s!
Adam, Sarah, Micah, and McKenna