Category Archives: Youth Apprenticeship Programs

well, well, well….I’m Back!

Yes, ladies and gents.  It has been a while since I have posted any updates, hellos or how are you’s.

Well, here’s for an update….go big or go home right?

As you all know, I designed an off-the grid greenhouse for the students involved in the apprenticeship program, DESIGNability, which will expand their annual growth capacity, incorporate additional learning opportunities in construction and expose students to the importance of reclaiming materials.  Of course you all knew that!!!

Well, here’s the REAL news…..this small detail of my M.A. final project has been chosen by local-Savannah non-profit Emergent Structures, to be built, constructed and usable in the near future!

Yes, my designs will actually come to life with reclaimed window sash, un-wanted brick and even some hydro-ponic tomatoes (well, eventually).

IKEA, the scandinavian furniture company, has awarded Emergent Structures a $9,000.00 (big money honey!) contribution to fund another phenomenal project focused on adaptive re-use of material…enter stage left: Savannah High School’s Greenhouse Program and me, the humble designer.

So, hang on to your britches.  Meagan will have lots of updates coming to you in the near future and Happy New Year EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Get your Chop on!

Well, well, well.  We just can’t seem to stop doing stuff!! The last two Thursdays with the students have actually been a little more project based.  Ideally, that is what the apprenticeship will involve: Identify the need and solve for a pattern of solutions, rather than just one.

Remember when I posted about us denailing Jotoba (brazillian cherry) wood for Wooden Sheep?

Of course you.

Well we got to help with Phase 2: assembly and gluing.  This commissioned job is for The Butcher, an art gallery on Bay Street.  Dilated Spectrum, our in-house graphics and screen print company, completed the graphics package and now Wooden Sheep  is completing custom orders as well.

Plain and simple: the design is a cleaver. Easy enough!

Glue is setting, so next phase….heavy machinery planing operation for the students!   Well, we might just have to work up to that one. Enjoy, cause I surely am!

Bill Strickland: a social architect

Paths cross for a reason.  People use that statement in multiple contexts.  For me, synchronicity is an everyday compulsion.  I ran into blank at the Sentient Bean, which connected me to blank.  So-and-so posted a great website at the same moment I happened to jump online which lead me to blank.  There was only one gluten free brownie left at Gallery Espresso, that means that I must eat it.

Anywho, I ran across Bill Strickland’s visionary programs in a Historic Preservation class that I took in the Spring of this year.  Then, bam, I remembered his talk and how completely relevant his work is to my project.  And another inspirational visionary is something I am needing RIGHT NOW.  Sooo once again, I reach to Ted Talks for a best practice of online media exchange.  Warning: he will move you and possibly pull a tear out of your eye, which is not a bad thing.  Click Here for the video.

A little bit of Bill’s bio from Ted.com: While moonlighting as an airline pilot, Strickland founded Manchester Bidwell, a world-class institute in his native Pittsburgh devoted to vocational instruction in partnership with big business — and, almost incidentally, home to a Grammy-winning record label and a world-class jazz performance series.

Also, here is a link to his personal website: www.bill-strickland.org

Ongoing Progress…

Every Thursday, I have the opportunity to work with students on Southern Pine’s site.  Sometimes it’s for one hour sometimes two, but no matter what I always laugh.  We helped out good ole Wooden Sheep and denailed some Jotoba (brazillian cherry) wood  that once was a flooring, headed to the dump, then brought on a detour to Southern Pine.  Since the board feet is primarily short runs, Eric at Wooden Sheep has designed chopping boards and is starting to assemble them.

Today, I heard one of the teachers kindly request one of the students to pull up his pants.  She joked, I keep telling you, no one wants to see what’s in those pants on a jobsite.  In the middle of his whispering repetitive rapping, he softly responded ‘okay’, smiled behind the safety goggles and set down the wavering hammer, that really was only a tool for him to sing with.  I learned later that he attended Summer camp with AWOL and was involved in recording a song with rapper Kid Syc.  He told me that he will continue to only practice until he can make enough money to attend camp again.  They say this student is categorized as a MID: Mild Intellectual Disability, which doesn’t mean much to me.  I just know he wears sweet kicks and has a gentle smile.

Here’s a little bit of what we are up too…..p.s. I am not allowed to photograph these students.  someone, somewhere has labeled them as something and request no photographs.

Collaboration with Wooden Sheep

Here’s a the first built project with Savannah High and Wooden sheep in a little more detail.  I posted a couple of more pictures on Southern Pine’s blog

Or click here too!

New Urbanism…on the Old Star Laundry Site

Empty, overgrown urban lots have quite the story.  They have been homes to native plant life, animals, humans, food, etc.  Overtime, human occupancy has created what’s called an urban area.

Backyard green space located on 34th and Reynolds Streets

Our Savannah urban area has seen many phases, face lifts and dormant stages over the years.  Most recently the stage of urban decay has taken over.  My focus: curing the blighted area in our own backyard at Southern Pine Company of Georgia.

It all started with a need for a greenhouse and now, well NOW we have Savannah High school special education students on our site kicking us into high gear.  We have been cleaning, recycling and planting to the plot of land in the back of Southern Pine’s building, and for those of you that were unable to take a peek at the new garden while at RE:fest, well I have included some progress photos!

And this is just the beginning phase of a wonderful apprenticeship!!

Savannah High students helping clear the garden space

STAY TUNED for updates on the program!!!

Connecting Youth with Apprenticeships

Some countries recognize a “leap year” for highschoolers.  This is when newly highschool graduates take off one year in between highschool and college.  Some youth might clear their heads by picking up a back pack and traveling, or working a full time job or sitting on their bum eating fish and chips.  However, this “leap year” is suppose to help guide a person towards their ultimate career and life choice.

Here in America we don’t enable that type of behavior.  We have you on a career track by age 13, writing college prep papers at 15 and applying for over-priced schools at 17 and starting a lifetime of debt at 18.  Is this the best solution for all?

Disabled youth get lost in the sea of statistics of the unemployed, drop out youth and have become stereotyped as “unable because disabled”.  However, an apprenticeship is something that could change statistics, help youth gain hands on job experience, and maybe even clear a child’s head and point him/her in the direction they do or don’t want to go down.  Now this sounds like a plan for all: the disabled, unable and fully able.

With over 1,000 recognizable apprentice-able occupations, why not explore additional options for the new youth of America?

The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth explores in the ins and outs of completing a successful apprenticeship.

Read it and soak it up!