Questions: How did I end up getting into the business I am in? Did I plan for it from childhood?What steps did I take along the path that lead me here?As a child, who and what influenced me for this profession?
There are many people who move through elementary, middle, high school, college, and yet really do not know what they are moving toward. The old question of “what do I want to be when I grow up” sometimes is still haunting us when we are in our 40’s and 50’s. Others have known all of their life what they wanted to pursue. What influenced their dream/goal/passion?
There is an organization out there that is working hard to influence a child’s path.Toolbox is delivering age appropriate construction technology learning programs in Georgia's elementary and middle schools.And in Roswell, these programs feed Roswell High School’s construction program. The Roswell school system is only elementary to high school construction education in Georgia. It is giving kids a hands-on experience building and using tools. Projects are age appropriate. Younger kids start by building a birdhouse or a toolbox while the middle schoolers work on a year-long project which involves framing, plumbing, electrical, and masonry skills.
The name of Toolbox’s program is the Young Apprentice Construction Club. They have volunteer adult leaders called “project managers” who oversee the work and focus on safety and quality control. They encourage students to work with a buddy.The Roswell Rotary Club has several project managers working with the Toolbox program. Roswell Rotarian Mike Nielsen, President of WS Nielsen Company, says, “Working with the 5th graders was truly inspirational. I was hesitant to volunteer, but after getting to know the children and watching them grow and understand their ability to build something with their own two hands, it was extremely rewarding. Programs like “Toolbox” are a must in public education and way overdue!”
The founder, Jeffrey “J” Prothero, was inspired in 2014 after working with Roswell Rotarian Zach Fields, who was then overseeing the construction program at Roswell High School. J thought that the students in the construction program would be better prepared if given the opportunity to develop age-appropriate knowledge and skills in their earlier years. Along with several other Toolbox volunteers, he created the first club at Elkins Point Middle School and now both middle schools offer full blown construction technology programs just like they do art and music every day of the week .Today, the Young Apprentice Construction Club is in all Roswell elementary schools and has well over 100 students participating, and over 30 volunteers.J would like to see the program throughout Georgia.
College may not be for everyone whether due to a lack of desire or money. Toolbox begins to plant the seeds for employment opportunities while still in high school and prepare students for well-paying careers after graduation. Toolbox watches kids get excited about seeing the outcome of their hands-on projects.They tend to like school better which leads to a greater graduation rate. Sponsors like Roswell Rotary, Chick-Fil-A, Home Depot, the Association of General Contractors of Georgia, Construction Education Foundation of Georgia, and local construction businesses believe in the program and are helping to make sure Toolbox is successful.
Recently J brought one of the elementary school projects (pictured here) to a Roswell Rotary Club meeting along with the kids that built it. The smiles on their faces were priceless.J commented, “Students are extraordinarily proud of their finished product!”
If you would like to become a volunteer, contact J at firstname.lastname@example.org.Perhaps your Rotary Club would like to be a sponsor like Roswell Rotary and help J get Toolbox into your local schools.