Home Trust Outreach Ornaments and 11th Grade Community Projects

L-R: Derek Smith, FHHS STEM Director; David Gow, Home Trust Executive Director; Justin Ha and Matthew Vogel, FHHS Students; and Charlene Caren, Home Trust – SJ Update photo

San Juan Community Home Trust member Charlene (Chary) Caren was brainstorming what to do for this year’s home trust outreach when she hit upon the idea of little wooden ornaments in the shapes of their houses – 12 different ones based on real homes in their 3 neighborhoods: Sun Rise I, Sun Rise II and Salal.

One of the wooden cutout ornaments and a photo of the home it represents

She thought perhaps she would be able to find someone on the island with a laser cutter who would be willing to cut out the images – and then someone suggested that high school students might be willing to do so and at the same time earn community services hours, a requisite for graduation and university scholarships.

After contacting the high school she was referred to Jenny Wilson who is the coordinator for the Grade 11 Community Service Program.

Chary made her pitch to about 30 students and 2 in particular seemed interested. Justin Ha and Matthew Vogel needed a project and this was a good fit. With STEM Director Derek Smith’s direction, the 2 decided that the CNC Machine at the STEM center seemed to be the answer – for inexpensive, plentiful wood cut outs of the houses.

Chary says: “I have an Austrian friend in Victoria who makes abstract ornamental cut outs (birds, angels, etc.) and then paints them in a folk art style. I have bought a lot from him to give as gifts for Christmas ornaments, decorative curtain pulls, to hang in windows, etc.  I love them because they are hand made and no two are exactly alike. I thought that if we could get the house ornaments made, then perhaps island artists would be willing to take a dozen or so and decorate them.” 

“We will sell them, yes, but in the process we will have the opportunity to talk about the need for permanently affordable housing, and that only with such housing would we be able to have a sustainable community.”

“Having high school students and our schools involved is yet another outreach for us – and informative to them – students, teachers, parents – giving the opportunity to learn more about and become familiar with types of housing on our island.”

Chary hopes to have a lot of ornaments painted and ready for the County Fair, where they can offer them by donation… and it will give the partnership of the High School Community Service Program, the STEM program, two students and the Home Trust an opportunity to showcase different parts of the community working together = a more interesting and compelling booth.

Then, at the Holiday Market in December, they will have the tiny decorated wooden ornaments giving the Home Trust more exposure – gifts which will be appealing, and will also give very deserving credit to Friday Harbor High School’s programs of Community Service and STEM.

Posted on May 14, 2019 at 5:50 am by

Categories: Arts, Education, People, Real Estate
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