Sawhorse Revolution is a Seattle-based non-profit serving high-school students primarily from Central and South Seattle. Our mission is to foster confident, community-oriented youth through the power of carpentry and craft.
WE BELIEVE IN TRUSTING YOUR HANDS
There’s a unique kind of knowledge that comes through hands on experience. It’s the physical discovery of a confidence grounded in skill and self-reliance.
WE BELIEVE THAT WORK IS WORTHY
The dignity of work is a right, not a privilege. We strive to restore the virtue of work by exposing youth to the power of making.
WE BELIEVE IN EXPERTS AND BEGINNERS, SHOULDER TO SHOULDER
Teaming experienced professionals with engaged youth for hands-on experience is at the heart of what we do.
WE BELIEVE IN BEING BETTER TOGETHER
Growth happens when interactions with others inspire new ways of being yourself.
Sawhorse Revolution began its incubation under Seattle’s Rubicon Foundation in 2010. 3 consecutive annual fort-building summer camps at Smoke Farm in Arlington established a community, pedagogical approach of learning-through-doing, and a strong desire to develop this approach further. Fall of 2012 saw Sawhorse move into Seattle, with intention to work toward a stable and independent non-profit focused around the intersection skills and craft education, and youth and community development. Since fall 2012, Sawhorse has developed the model of rallying groups of students, volunteers, and professionals around community-based building projects, always with attention toward creativity and panache in final products. Sawhorse Revolution transitioned into independent operation in January 2015, with plans to continue our organizational development to offer more hands-on opportunities to greater numbers of youth around Seattle.
In 2017, Seattle’s Human Services Department’s Youth Voice, Youth Choice program, which involves more than 3000 participating youth, voted to award Sawhorse $128,500 to construct 10 tiny homes in the year and placed in city-run homeless encampments throughout Seattle. Through this generous grant, we were able to significantly expand our scope of work in the 2017-2018 school year, logging nearly 600 program hours, reaching over 200 students (a 100% increase on 2017), and engaging over 250 volunteers! Our staff also expanded from 2.5 FTE to 4.5 FTE, expanding our capacity to impact youth and the community through transformative building projects. To tour all past Sawhorse work, please visit our projects section.
Sawhorse Revolution strives to see, acknowledge and identify the intersections of individual, cultural, and institutional racism and social injustice. We are inspired to create equitable change within a framework of “feet-on-the-ground” education, empowerment, and leadership, in and for our community.
Erin Ingle is a homegrown Pacific North-Westerner committed to social engagement and environmental stewardship. After years as a friend and fan of Sawhorse Revolution, she now has a place on the team. Erin graduated cum laude in 2011 with a BA in English (Creative Writing) & Spanish Literature. Outside of Sawhorse, she tries to change the world with laughter as a nationally touring stand-up comedian.
Meg Hartwig is an artist, carpenter and educator living and working in Seattle. Hartwig was born and raised in great Midwestern state of Michigan and is currently a ten year resident of the Emerald City. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics and Illustration In Michigan, a Post Baccalaureate in Ceramics from Louisiana State University, worked hard and adventurously in between and throughout, and later earned a Masters of Fine Arts, 3D4M, at the University of Washington. Hartwig has been hammering away since and will soon be focusing on a fall solo show while continuing to labor away at other Sisyphean endeavors.
Lu Rukhadze is our newest Sawhorse member. After receiving their BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago they moved to Seattle and have found it to be a generous and welcoming home. With a background in both metal and wood Lu has worked in various facets of building ranging from industrial architecture to furniture fabrication. Lu has had a long history of working with youth including teaching art to queer students in a camp setting in Vermont, and leading a build/design garden program in Chicago. In Lu’s opinion working for Sawhorse is the perfect merger of hands on education, community based projects, and building. They couldn’t be happier to be part of the team.
Sam Schultz graduated with a Masters in Architecture from North Dakota State University and worked professionally as a designer on community development and rural healthcare projects for Native American reservations across the Midwest. She spent her free time entertaining a love for building and sawdust by flipping her own home and volunteering across the US and abroad on design-build projects for communities in need. She left the design world for an carpentry job where she framed houses and drafted permitting plans with a small construction crew in Minnesota. Managing programs for Sawhorse Revolution over the past year and a half has been the perfect blending of her design and construction skills with her passions for hands-on education and humanitarian aid.
Sarah Smith is an educator, jill-of-many-trades, and co-founder of Sawhorse Revolution. She received a BA in English Literature from the University of Puget Sound, graduated in 2008, and promptly realized the importance of hands-on skills training. Since then, she has been working to develop experiential learning programs for youth. Smith received a Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2012, and has been working at Sawhorse since graduating. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and time with friends and family.
Co-founder and former executive director of Sawhorse Revolution. Received an M.D. and M.A. in Biomedical and Health Informatics from the University of Washington. Currently a resident physician at the University of Washington Family Medicine Residency. A passion for progressive education and learning technologies unites his work in medicine and with Sawhorse Revolution.
Board of Directors
Interested in joining our Board?
Sawhorse Revolution is currently endeavoring to develop a board that is every bit as well-designed, exciting, creative, fun, and useful as one of our structures. We seek people who can help us continue to grow into our promise and make the journey enjoyable. If you think you’d like to be part of this adventure, read on!
If Sawhorse is new to you and if you haven’t already done so, we encourage you to take a look at our manifesto here, our mission, vision, and equity statement here, and more about our programs and press coverage.
In general, the Sawhorse board helps create an organization that allows our kick-ass staff to do what they do best: create and run life-changing design/build programs for young people. Although Sawhorse is a fairly young organization, our board is no longer in the business of program development and execution; our staff does that admirably well. The board helps infuse wisdom and direction, provides financial oversight and management, encourages and supports our Executive Director, acts as community ambassadors for the work, and develops financial and human resources to sustain and grow our mission.
At this moment in our being, the board is especially looking to add expertise in these areas to our team:
- Financial management—someone who speaks numbers, accounting, and reporting fluently
- Legal—especially someone with experience navigating non-profit issues and risk management
- Business planning and strategic thinking in the fundraising and philanthropy senses
- Party-throwing/Event Planning—fun events R US!
- Architecture and design
We are very focused on building a deep understanding of our students and meaningful connections to the communities they’re a part of. We therefore strongly encourage people of color, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people from historically marginalized communities to apply.
If all of this sounds good to you, here’s the process:
- 1. Please complete this application
- 2. We will review all applications as they’re received.
- 3. One of our board members will contact applicants who fit what we’re looking for and will set up an in-person meeting.
- 4. Individual interviews
- 5. The full board will vote to invite a select number of applicants to join the board.
Please, PLEASE understand this: we expect that there will be more great applicants than we can invite to join the board. There are many ways to help Sawhorse; board membership is just one. We would honestly prefer that you NOT APPLY if you would harbor ill-will if we don’t choose to invite you; we’re doing our best to assemble an effective team. Moreover, if your vision matches our vision, we will find a way for you to help change our students’ lives, whether through board service or some other avenue.
Thanks so much for your interest! We look forward to hearing from you.
- Family Medicine Resident, University of Washington Medical School
- Sawhorse Revolution Artistic Director (volunteer position)
- M. Ed., University of Puget Sound
- Public School teacher
- 20+ years leading experiential education programs
Matthew Cary, Treasurer
- Owner, Heirloom Quality Modern
- High-end residential and commercial carpenter for 20+ years
Bob Perkins, President
- Former Executive Director of Youth In Focus, Center for Wooden Boats
Andrew Marsters, Vice President
- Project Manager, BN Builders
- M.S. Construction Management, University of Washington
Deverie Hart, Secretary
- Director of Attorney Recruiting & Professional Development, Garvey Schubert Barer
- B.A., English, Washington State University
- Background in recruiting, employee integration, professional development and retention
Remember this! Life is so much bigger, so much stranger than you can ever know. Do not ignore this truth for the sake of comfort or convenience.
All humans deserve nourished bodies, adequate shelter, clean living conditions, and basic medical care. Yet, beyond these tangible necessities, there exists a fundamental psychic need which all humans require. That need is dignity.
Dignity is a personal reflection, created by meaning and purpose.
In the modern world, meaning and purpose stem from true freedom, a word we use to denote the psychological capacity to recognize one’s real values, unclouded by illusion or coercion, and the physical capacity to act accordingly.
Lacking the taste of true freedom, an individual’s capacities give way to ennui, despair, and apathy.
Boredom, despair and apathy are the dominant plights of the post-industrial world.
These plights cannot lead to dignity. Lacking viable paths to psychic fulfillment, individuals instead seek it through comforts, habits, and materials.
Such provisions only offer a facade of true freedom. They present us with decisions that result in feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment, but the decisions are patronizing and rewards hollow. They are false freedoms. Instead of nourishing our innate need for dignity, they give us a fleeting satiety while making us slaves to their acquisition.
The false freedoms available to modern man are structured by consumer culture, which is not concerned with its consumers, but only its own self-perpetuation. The objects of vice are designed to quickly become obsolete in order to require further consumption.
These transient forms of fulfillment absorb our attention, inhibiting us from considerations of the infinite possibilities provided by life.
We learn to fear life beyond our comforts, closing off the limitless nature of reality for the sake of familiarity and ease. We become too inundated with our false freedoms to accept that there may be alternatives.
Alternatives always exist, but effective ones require true freedom to envision.
To orient ourselves towards true freedom, we must begin to know our illusions, impulses, and situation. Knowing these elements of our selves requires relinquishing our false freedoms and submitting to reality.
Submitting to reality requires working with concrete laws, physical truths, and actual cause and effect. When an individual confronts these elements with sincerity, the opportunity to expose delusions and more accurately perceive reality arises.
One must submit to reality when learning to play an instrument, to speak a language, or to build a house. Through these activities gaps in knowledge and misunderstandings are rapidly revealed through cacophony, broken words, and ugly, friable structures. In the case of building, one’s distractions, lapses in care, or lack of attention—one’s illusions and impulses in confrontation with reality—are recorded in one’s environment.
These recordings serve as stories, and the stories as reminders.
The builder lives amongst these reminders. They tell her that she was, and is, not yet free.
But, with each new project and each new swing of the hammer, she is in a steady movement towards true freedom by building atop the reminders.
Here, in her journal of wood, stone, gypsum and iron, the builder records her journey in the infrastructure of the world.
Here, she begins to build towards dignity.
Nuts + Bolts
Our annual reports document how we are fostering confident, community-oriented youth through the power of carpentry and craft each year, by the numbers. The 990 provides our financial data to the public. Click the following links to view these documents.
KCTS/PBS – “Tiny House Revolution” (video) Stacy Jenkins, June 7, 2016
Seeker Network – “Can Tiny Homes Solve Homelessness in the US?” (video) Molly Fosco, July 21, 2016
Treehouse Masters – Season 5, Episode 8, “Workshop Edition” (video) Animal Planet, September 11, 2015
The Stranger – “The Sawhorse Revolution” Brendan Kiley; September 4, 2013
Huffington Post – “Teens Create Tiny Home Village…” Robbie Couch; April 8, 2015
Seattle Times – “Franklin High students hammer home gift for Nickelsville’s homeless” Miguel Otárola; June 2, 2015
KUOW – “Seattle Teens Built This Tiny Home for the Homeless” Posey Gruener, September 20, 2015
Crosscut – “Sawhorse Carpenters are Customizing Nickelsville” Brian Hagenbuch, June 12, 2015
Fast Co. – “This Moveable Village of Tiny Houses for the Homeless Was Designed By Teenagers” Adele Peters, April 23, 2015
Mother Nature Network – “Help Teen Carpenters Build a Tiny House Eco-Village for Seattle’s Homeless” Matt Hickman, April 16, 2015
Ecosphere – “Sawhorse Revolution Provides Tiny Homes for the Homeless” Alex Vietti, May 2015