I recently found out about your foundation while reading an article titled “Where the jobs are: Will skilled labour pay off?” I am the Executive Director of Waterside Workshops, a nonprofit organization in Berkeley, California. Our organization uses vocational education as a method of promoting youth development, encouraging sustainable and healthy lifestyles, and cultivating positive change in the Bay Area community. We provide vocational training, classes, and recreation opportunities for some of the Bay Area’s most at-risk youth while offering services to the community including a bicycle shop and repair facility, a full service wooden boat building shop, and Berkeley's only youth-run coffee shop.
The creation of Waterside Workshops was in direct response to the lack of vocational training in public schools, especially schools serving low-income urban youth. Our founding staff and board members are tradesmen, mechanics, and teachers whose lives have all been greatly influenced by their exposure to handcrafts and skills. Personally, I was raised in rural North Carolina, the daughter of traditional blacksmiths and woodworkers. My partner, who is our Boatshop Director, was raised in California’s Central Valley, the son of immigrants from the Azores Islands who came to this country to work on large-scale industrial dairies. Both of us grew up with “dirty jobs”.
I sent a letter to firstname.lastname@example.org in March but have not yet heard back. We would like to submit an application to the mikeroweWORKS Foundation and explore how we might work with you to make a difference in the lives of Bay Area youth while creating the next generation of trades men and women.