"That's Pretty Rad" - a Farewell Letter

April Robbins was one of the first ReBuilding Center Education instructors. After being with the ReBuilding Center since 2016, her time teaching here came to a close this month. The ReBuilding Center community will miss April and we wish her the best of luck in her building endeavors!

By: April Robbins


“What in the world...” and “that’s pretty rad,” are the simultaneous thoughts I had while walking into the spectacle that is the Administrative Offices of the ReBuilding Center.  The doors on the ceiling, the hodgepodge of windows and siding making up the cubicles; I wondered about the workings of such a creative space with its animated and consistently helpful staff.  I was working at Oregon Tradeswomen (OTI) at the time and living in the Boise neighborhood as one of the reluctantly endured transplants from California, blissfully unaware of vitamin D deficiencies and things like ‘freezing fog’. 

Setting up opportunities for the pre-apprenticeship students at the ReBuilding Center was a seamless task with the help of Dave, the Volunteer Coordinator at the time.  We worked together a few times, and about a month after I parted ways with OTI in May of 2016, I got in touch with Dave again and signed up to help the Portland Public Schools make 3 stringed instruments in the shop!  Things snowballed from there and I’ve been honored to be an instructor for the ReBuilding Center through this past December.

The ReBuilding Center and Education team are not just a ‘can do’ group but a ‘must do’.  There is an understanding that Portland needs and cherishes its makers, its most unorthodox businesses, and the gritty people who are motivated not by comfort and ease, but by passion and confidence - the very values the Education department fuels in its students.  Portland stands out among the places I’ve lived as a determined and unwavering progressive city with a strong core and welcoming spirit; and my experience at the ReBuilding Center supports that experience. 

Thank you all very much for your assistance, gentle hellos, lighthearted humor, and all around support.  I will certainly miss being on staff.  For the time being, I will be working for a builder, Neil Kelly.  I will undoubtedly be rolling up the alleyway with donations and perusing the aisle for finds. Thanks for making my time here exceptional.

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