Building Furniture to Build Futures

I just finished my second year teaching Engineering at Design Lab Early College High School, a CMSD school. To date, we have made: cornhole boards, little free libraries, bookcases, tables, chairs, custom engraved bathroom signs, and custom 3D printed items that our students designed.

My project plan for 2019-2020 is to team up with Community of Hope and make “graduation presents” for teens aging-out of foster care. These gifts will serve to help them furnish their first apartment. Design Lab students will make a night stand, a slatted mattress platform (that replaces the need for bed frame or box springs), a small kitchen table, and two chairs. We plan to donate these projects to Community of Hope.

My goal is to get our students thinking, collaborating, and making. I want kids to design and make their own projects, but the projects must hold significance that extend beyond a simple classroom setting. Preparing our students for the real world means that they must be engaging in real work.

That being said, all of the Engineering projects at Design Lab are either directly used to make our school a better place, or are donated to help our community. The cornhole boards were donated to middle schools and some remain for use in our gym class; the little free libraries were donated to the Cleveland Housing Network for use in their communities; the bathroom signs replaced deteriorated ones at the school; many of the bookcases are in teachers’ classrooms, while the rest accompany the tables and chairs built for our newly renovated library space.

Funding this project will help us to build furniture to help build the futures of the youth in our communities. If it takes a village, let that village be all of Cleveland.

More information about the Community of Hope can be found here:

Funded by Cleveland, OH (June 2019)