“Why Woodworking?”

Allison Eskew

Products, Stories
September 25, 2015

Maybe woodworking seems a little off the wall for a jobs program, so allow me to share five reasons we like it.

#1. The feel-good factor: Any time you can create something that wasn’t there before, it just feels good! And not just something but a quality item that’s functional and worthy of being bought. There’s something really satisfying, dignifying, and exciting about clear visual proof of what you’ve accomplished, and this has been evident in our workers’ attitudes. One reason that we moved from building custom items to specific products is so that ReWorkers can build items repeatedly. This is a great way to see your own improvement and results in the ability to build with little to no help in a short amount of time. We think succeeding here can motivate finding success in other aspects of life as well.

#2. It’s a valuable skill: It’s possible that learning how to use tools and produce quality items could open a door to some type of construction or other woodworking job. It also builds confidence with tools and wood that in the future could serve workers in maintaining and even furnishing a home.

#3. It’s teachable: We’ve had people in our program with more experience than the staff and volunteers combined, and we’ve people that didn’t know the difference between nails and screws. With enough time and effort though woodworking seems to be something that most people are capable of learning and becoming good at, and so far there’s been no shortage of men or women willing to give it a try!

#4. It encourages relationship: It‘s hard to watch somebody next to you struggle at something and not help them when you know an easier way. It might start by teaching each other tricks and tips to ensure cutting a straight line or to keep from drilling a hole too deep. Then there’s the abundant problem-solving and teamwork opportunities that seem to be inevitable in the world of warped wood and rookie mistakes. Lastly, woodworking has no rules against noise so the freedom to strike up conversation is just always there. All around it’s an easy platform for building relationships in a way that feels natural.

#5. The fun factor: Power tools. (Need we say more…?)

If you’ve been following us for longer than six months you know we’ve tried a variety of ideas over the past couple of years including art, painting, crafts, and sewing among others, but our woodshop has always found the most success. No one program is going to fit everybody but we think we’ve found something that appeals to a pretty broad spectrum. Though it’s tough sometimes realizing we can’t help every person we’d like to, it’s also humbling to remember that God has not called our program to directly end homelessness all over the world. He decides ahead of time each and every individual we are to work with and we believe He has equipped us accordingly.

Put simply we feel God is currently calling ReWork Project to woodworking, and, more importantly, to the people that have come with it.

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