I always like finding another school woodshop program that is changing kids lives for the better. Below is a short video that highlights the woodshop class run by teacher Brett Smith in Phoenix, Arizona at Valley View Elementary.
The unique thing about this program is that the kids are working hard making things that the school needs. They are currently working on a 2-1/2 year project for improving the school's library with bookshelves, magazine racks, cabinets, and you name it. Most woodshop classes seem to focus on having the students work on personal projects, which is great, but at Valley View the kids are learning the enormous rewards and gratification that result from helping others. The kids in this video are not only learning how to use their hands as a life-long skill, but they are also being taught a huge lesson in character. Just take a look for yourself...
According to woodshop teacher Brett Smith, "the kids are learning to solve problems everyday and the idea is to have that problem in front of you and then solving it." He goes on to say that, "the kids come back the next year trying to get back in woodshop class. The work is hard but I think that they do appreciate it." I would have to say that this is an under-statement because from looking at the video, it's apparent that Mr. Smith is changing these kids lives for the better.
Some of the kids comments verify this as their newfound skills of working wood has helped build their family relationships: "I find that this class is a way for me to work with my dad when he doesn't want to be alone." and another student says, "When my mom doesn't know how to do something I can help her and other family members." Woodshop class has had a direct and positive effect on these kids self worth, character, and as a means for building stronger families.
Once again, the unique thing about this woodshop class is that they're building useful things for their own school. One of the kids in the video summed it up perfectly when he said both candidly and honestly, "When people visit we say 'Yeah'... We made that!" I can't imagine a more powerful life lesson that that.
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