Grade eight students from Lincoln Middle School have turned the tables on the traditional wood shop project, and found a way to benefit the community at the same time.
“Over the years, we noticed dozens of clocks and assorted projects left in the shop at the end of June,” says shops teacher Neil Penner. “A lot of the older grade eight students just weren’t interested in taking them home. We realized we could be making different choices and directing our end-products towards the community. United Way was a natural partner.”
Since September, Penner’s grade eight wood shop class has been constructing picnic tables for distribution to 15 participating United Way agency partners. All along the way students have been involved in choosing where the tables go and have learned about each agency receiving one.
Penner says the students still gain the practical experience of constructing a wood project and learn more about the community and agencies that support its residents.
To date, nine United Way agency partners have received their tables including The Laurel Centre, The Family Centre (Westgrove), Ndinawe, Eyaa-Keen Centre, Marymound, North Point Douglas Women’s Centre, RaY, Andrews Street Family Centre, and Knowles Centre.
Six more—Villa Rosa, Wolseley Family Place, SEED, Maples Youth Activity Centre, Spence Neighbourhood Association, and Pregnancy and Family Support Service—will receive tables by the end of June.
The students are hoping to demonstrate that young people do care about the community as a whole and hope other schools follow their example.
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, reinforcing the school’s decision to adapt the wood shop into a community awareness project.
“These students brought us more than a picnic table,” says Suhad Bisharat, Executive Director of The Laurel Centre. “They brought us the sun!”
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