The ReBuilding Center’s ReFind Education Program and mission were honored in early June at the Association of Oregon Recyclers conference, "Sustainable Oregon." The Association of Oregon Recyclers supports recycling, composting, thoughtful consumption, and producer responsibility. Their conference featured educational sessions, local and national experts, tours and an awards program celebrating the achievements of Oregon’s recycling, reuse, and waste reduction.
The ReBuilding Center’s implementation of ReFind Education received the Best Education/Promotion Program award at this year's conference. ReFind Education emphasizes affordable classes that give adults and youth skills on how to safely and creatively work with used building materials. Classes have been selling out faster than expected. With over 1,000 adult students in the last year, the response has been incredible and the ReBuilding Center is scaling up to meet community demand. We have hired three new instructors, including a ReFind Education Shop Coordinator, Aaron Green, and plan to offer even more classes. ReFind also offers space to teach local youth STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) skills. Since August 2016, RBC has engaged over 2,000 Portland Public School seventh graders in "maker" experiences, challenging them to conceptualize, design, and build their own unique 3-stringed guitars from salvaged building materials.
In receiving the award, Stephen Reichard, Executive Director of the ReBuilding Center, noted that justice and sustainability are two sides of the same coin. The ReBuilding Center works to connect the two. In a nutshell, those most likely to be left out of the conversation regarding their needs and wants are encouraged to take part here. At the ReBuilding Center, the overarching goal cannot be mistaken for anything other than utter inclusivity and invitation to be a part of a growing movement in changing the nature of the way we relate to natural resources.
The Association of Oregon Recyclers’ award brings encouragement and recognition to the efforts of staff, volunteers, and supporting organizations and government, as well as customers donating and purchasing materials at the ReBuilding Center.