The woodshop at Holy Cross Parish is a place where neighborhood kids come to learn life skills, connect with caring adult mentors, and express themselves creatively. With careful adult supervision, young people from the community learn to use woodworking tools to create projects that range from small gifts to intricate pieces of art. The program teaches discipline, responsibility, and other skills the youth can continue to develop in other areas of their lives. The woodshop also serves as a creative outlet for young people and a way to boost their confidence. Creating a work of art builds planning, decision-making, and problem-solving skills, among many other benefits.
One important aspect of the woodshop is providing kids with the opportunity to meet and interact with natural mentors. A natural mentor is a caring adult they meet and interact with in their day-to-day lives, outside of a formal mentoring program. Kids with natural mentors tend to have higher self-esteem and are more likely to finish high school and attend college. They are also less likely to be in a gang or involved with violence.
The woodshop provides youth with many other opportunities they need to be successful, like the chance to try new things and practice new skills with regular adult feedback. It also invites them to make a meaningful contribution to the community through their functional pieces or their art.
The Holy Cross woodshop is a great resource for kids and teens in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood, but they need our help to keep growing and serving the community. During the month of March we have a dedicated goal to raise $1,500 to help the woodshop purchase a dust filtration system, new scroll saws, and the raw materials they need to keep their work going—wood, paint, and wood stain. Check out our Cultivating Hope campaign and please consider making a donation! A gift of even $10 will go a long way toward helping us meet our goal.
More about the Claretian Initiative’s new Cultivating Hope campaigns: